On a night celebrating the best the music industry has to offer, the Grammys did not shy away from controversy — it broached with the help of some powerful voices.
In an introduction to Katy Perry's performance of "By the Grace of God" during the awards Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama was shown in a video message speaking about domestic violence.
"Right now, nearly one in five women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape. And more than one in four women has experienced some form of domestic violence. It’s not OK and it has to stop," Obama said, before directing people to itsonus.org, an initiative directed at stopping assaults on campuses, as well as elsewhere.
But the real star of the segment was Brooke Axtell, the founder of Survivor Healing and Empowerment, who gave a spoken word performance before Perry sang. Axtell, 34, said in an interview with People earlier this week that she saw this as an incredible opportunity to speak for the many people who don't have that opportunity.
"I don't see myself as a victim. I see myself as a warrior for peace and healing," she told the publication. "I've taken back my power and now I want to honor and elevate the voices of those who have been silenced by abuse."
Here is her stunning, incredibly powerful speech in full:
My name is Brooke Axtell and I am a survivor of domestic violence.
After a year of passionate romance with handsome charismatic man, I was stunned when he began to abuse me.
I believed he was lashing out because he was in pain and needed help.
I believed my compassion could restore him and our relationship.
My empathy was used against me.
I was terrified of him. Ashamed I was in this position.
What bound me to him was my desire to heal him.
My compassion was incomplete because it did not include me.
When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape. I revealed the truth to my mom and she encouraged me to seek help at a local domestic violence shelter.
This conversation saved my life.
Authentic love does not devalue another human being.
Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse.
If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honour and respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love.
Please reach out for help.
Your voice will save you.
Let it extend into the night, let it part the darkness, let it set you free to know who you truly are.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST