Singer Jewel is used to baring her soul in her songs, but this subject hasn’t been brought up until now. Jewel revealed that she was hit on by grown men at the tender age of 8 years old.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jewel discussed the sexual harassment she received from older men. “I’ve had men hitting on me, sadly, since I was really young. At 8, I had men putting dimes in my hands saying, ‘Call me. It’d be so great to f— when you’re older.’ And just horrible stuff.”
This situation only got worse, especially when she was still a struggling artist. Looking to get signed and make it big, Jewel performed in coffee shops and bars in California. While she was struggling to save money, her boss at the time expected her to have sex with him, but when she refused to sleep with him, she was fired, which meant she had to sleep in her car because she was unable to afford her rent.
“I’ve never been more propositioned by businessmen in my life. It was almost like they were sharks that could smell blood, like of vulnerability. I’d go back to my car, writing songs, and men would literally come up and proposition me. They would be like, ‘Hey, do you need rent money?’ you know and things like that. It was pretty wild. I never took anybody up on it, but it was interesting to see this side of men that basically would prey on somebody vulnerable.”
For Jewel, her solution in the presence of men was to shrink herself. After she got signed to Atlantic Records, she learned how to handle men who approached her with other intentions in mind.
“I learned to keep my energy to myself, where there’s nothing about me that seemed approachable. And as men did approach me, I got very good at handling men in a way that sort of didn’t anger them…. and at the same time using wit and usually humor to defuse the situation and to inform them, ‘P.S. Not available that way.'”
She continued, “I never slept my way to the top, ever. There was never one time I’ve ever compromised anything. I was always willing to walk away.”
That said, Jewel saw many of her peers give in to men. “I saw what women would give up for a compliment. I felt men were willing to take advantage if they saw something vulnerable.”
[Photo by Frazer /Harrison / Getty Images]