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Chilling rap lyrics in Shrewsbury park left author Amy aghast

By Toby Neal | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Amy Turner was sitting with her husband in the Quarry, Shrewsbury, watching some local lads messing about in the river, when the boys started to rap.

Amy, centre, at the launch of her book The Sky Is Mine. Left is Dr Lucy Andrew, English Programme Leader at UCS Shrewsbury, who has added Amy's book to the YA module of its syllabus for next year; and right, Katy Rink, editor of My Shrewsbury magazine, who interviewed Amy for the launch..

"It all seemed fairly innocent until the words became clearer and it was apparent they were singing about rape," said Amy.

When she later researched the lyrics online, she found a video of a boy performing a song describing terrible violence, including rape, against women.

"The majority of criticism in the comments was regarding his rapping ability rather than the content of the lyrics," said Amy.

"I couldn’t believe we live in a society in which boys are comfortable enough with lyrics like these to shout them in a public space.

"What was equally shocking is that no one – me included – said anything.

"The incident got me thinking about rape. Not just the act itself but how it’s talked about, or not talked about, in the current climate and the links between sexual, physical and mental abuse of girls and women."

That incident in the Quarry came when Amy visited the county town before making the move there from Whitstable in Kent. And this month she has launched her debut young adult novel, called The Sky Is Mine. Set partly in Shrewsbury, it explores issues around domestic abuse and rape culture, through central character Izzy.

Amy, who writes under the name Amy Beashel – Beashel was her mother's maiden name – said: "Having previously volunteered for a domestic violence charity, I knew I wanted to write about a woman’s escape from an abusive relationship, but from the perspective of her teenage daughter."

Published by Rock the Boat (Oneworld), the launch at University Centre Shrewsbury was organised by Shrewsbury independent children's bookshop, Button and Bear, with money from ticket sales going towards the Shrewsbury Domestic Abuse Service.

"I finished writing the book just as the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, which suggested that women were hopefully on the verge of breaking their silence about such issues, thus making Izzy’s discovery of her voice, and her ability to speak of her experience, more pertinent than I’d realised at the start of the writing process," she added.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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