Changing the record

Ifá Sáyo

Ifá Sáyo’s song Black Sands explores the issue of domestic violence

The issue of domestic violence is tackled in a new song by Walthamstow songwriter Sandra Forson, known by her singing name Ifá Sáyo

I know what domestic violence is and its ‘cycle of destruction’ to society.

I know people who are permanently scarred on their face or body from domestic violence, who find it hard to smile genuinely because of the pain they feel.

I know people affected by ‘subtle’ abuse that is not physical but verbal, or even emotional.

I know people who lie to themselves and loved ones, saying that everything is okay, when deep down they are screaming for help.

I know people who walk around with bloodshot eyes from the constant crying and low self-esteem.

I know people who have survived and moved on with their lives.

I know people currently trying to start afresh. But what about the many who stay and those who are killed because they are mentally imprisoned by their abuser?

I am a survivor, a voice for the silent.

Most songs today shy away from sensitive issues, but at Indigo Records I was able to express myself and this allowed me to uncover a sad chapter in my life – and other people’s.

I had to embrace the darkness and emptiness I and others felt to create a positive impact by speaking out about it. Black Sands was born when I was reflecting and decided enough was enough, that I needed to help others and the young people of today and tomorrow who are uneducated about this rising epidemic.

I had to show myself at my weakest and most vulnerable in my video, so as to reach out to those consumed by toxic relationships, those loyal to their situations who see it as a part of their life.

Too often people in toxic relationships or surroundings are exposed to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, self-harm, and even suicide. This while also dealing with physical health issues such as internal injuries, permanent scarring, and even miscarriages.

After writing my final thesis on domestic violence I realised it was more than physical, financial, or emotional abuse. I wanted to go beyond writing about myself and victims. I had to try and understand the people who commit such crimes; what hey went through to exhibit such anger and controlling mechanisms upon a vulnerable individual. I wanted to understand why a strong, enthusiastic and outgoing person could be transformed into being timid, isolated, and dependent – without a voice to speak about their secret.

There are too many gaps in the explanations behind domestic violence and the ways in which it is portrayed. Most videos show victims staying, buy not leaving. I had to change that and try my best to redirect what has been shown for years.

My focus fell on young people who I observed are unaware of the implications of relationships and what they entail. They don’t realise the commitments involved and the loss of reality and self-worth when they are exposed to toxic relationships.

I remember only learning about sex education and not about relationships that form before the sexual part. Sometimes bullying in early stages of development as a youth can desensitise an individual to a future ‘toxic’ relationship; they begin to accept it as the norm.

Too many women, men, children, and their families are affected by this epidemic. It’s more than just about age, race, religion or sexual orientation, but about people who need a voice and need help.

Society is left with mending these damaged people, hospitals have to clean up the mess, and schools are not making young people aware.

I decided to flip the switch and show that we all have the strength to leave. Everyone deserves to be loved and respected.


Watch the video for Black Sands:

Visit youtube.com/channel/UCV41G5LS5TwuZHGAte3y7WA

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