In a bid to give victims of sexual abuse and gender-based inequality a voice, the actor has launched her own podcast, The Left Ear.
“This is Dakota Johnson. Please leave a voicemail after the tone and I will record and share your stories, so that we can live in a world where she is equal.”
Women all over the world have heard these words, recorded by Johnson some 12 months ago when she uploaded her phone number to Instagram in a bid to compile stories of sexual harassment, abuse and assault for the podcast she has now launched the first episode.
Johnson shared the news during an appearance at this year’s Global Citizen Festival in New York – while wearing a logoed Gianni Versace crop top and blazer with jeans.
Posting a picture of her phone number on Instagram, she said: “Women and girls in every corner of the world face extreme violence and sexual harassment on a daily basis.
“Over 800 women and adolescent girls die every day because they do not have access to reliable contraceptives and basic maternity services. I don’t want to speak for you. I want to listen to you.
“This is my phone number. Tell me your story in my voicemail, and I will listen.”
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Women and girls in every corner of the world face extreme violence and sexual harassment on a daily basis. Over 800 women and adolescent girls die every day because they do not have access to reliable contraceptives and basic maternity services. I don’t want to speak for you. I want to listen to you. This is my phone number. Tell me your story in my voicemail, and I will listen. There is power in numbers. Together with @glblctzn I will compile your stories and get your voices heard. We must achieve a world where #sheisequal. Love, respect, and trust, Dakota
Now nearly a year later, Johnson has collated the responses and curated them into a podcast called The Left Ear, named as such because your left ear is the one closest to your heart and as she says in her most recent post “by listening with your heart, you can save someone even just a little bit.”
Describing the process of creating the podcast, Johnson says: “One year ago I asked women and girls around the world to call me and leave a voicemail telling their stories of sexual violence, harassment, and gender-based inequalities. I didn’t want to speak on their behalf, I wanted to listen to them.”
Johnson then explained that the stories are raw and unedited for authenticity.
“To protect anonymity the voices have been slightly pitched, and any identifiers have been removed,” she wrote. “Other than that, they have not been edited. These are real stories from real people around the world.”
So far, one full episode is available to listen to as well as a trailer and prologue, with more following every Monday from 7 October.
Throughout the inaugural episode, which runs for twelve minutes, several women share their stories in retellings that feel raw, traumatic, emotional and yet, nearly always, uplifting.
If you are a victim of assault or found the above information triggering, contact Dublin Rape Crisis Centre counsellors on their National 24-Hour Helpline 1800 77 8888 or by email at [email protected].