“That song is about a girl getting raped and pillaged by her father,” frontman and author of the song Steven Tyler said in the band’s autobiography Walk This Way. “It’s about incest, something that happens to a lot of kids who don’t even find out about it until they find themselves trying to work through some major f–king neuroses.”
Almost 30 years later, Tyler is still paying homage to the song’s title character. In 2015, he partnered with nonprofit Youth Villages to create Janie’s Fund, an organization that helps young girls who have been victims of abuse and assault.
“With Janie’s Fund, Steven is using his big voice to give a voice to the thousands of victims who haven’t had one,” a statement on the organization’s website said. “He feels this is his life’s work and legacy. This has been a goal for Steven for many years now. He says at this point in his life, he wants to make sure to focus his energy on things that really matter.“
On December 6th, Tyler opened Janie’s House at Youth Villages’ Inner Harbor Campus in Douglasville, Georgia. The house, in typical Tyler fashion, had a “scarf-cutting” instead of a ribbon-cutting and can house up to 30 young girls and women from the Atlanta metro area each year. The house also offers 24-hour access to therapeutic and medical care.
“This has been something I thought about since I wrote, ‘Janie’s Got a Gun,’” Tyler said in a video he posted on Twitter. “There’s a lot of stuff that you can’t see with your plain eyes and you just can’t fix. It’s gotta be something that’s got to be an inside job and that takes stopping and that takes therapists to see the real problems to get to it from the inside out. And for this place to be here and have it be called Janie’s House is a dream come true.”
Tyler has also been playing off of the original song’s lyrics and using ‘#JaniesGotAFund’ on social media to promote both the Janie’s Fund organization and the shelter. Tyler’s own experiences with a 12-step rehabilitation program (which he went through for both drug addiction and alcoholism) inspired him to use his name and reputation as a musician to help abuse victims develop a voice they may not have otherwise.
“When girls come in and they’re broken and battered and have their problems and get out, they have somewhere to go,” Tyler told TMZ. “It’s a safe haven, and more than anything, it gives them a voice. That’s what we want in the end, for them to be able to figure out what’s going on and be good from the inside out and pass it on.
Thanks to Steven Tyler, women are able to leave their abusers and focus on creating a new life for themselves in a safe place. His contributions to abused girls has changed so many lives and will hopefully continue to help many more women as the years go on.
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