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Katy Perry and Obama Take on Domestic Violence at Grammys

Katy Perry joined President Barack Obama at the Grammy Awards Sunday night to urge artists and fans alike to join a pledge to end rape and violence against women.

“Tonight we celebrate the artists and music and messages that shape our culture, and together, we can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls,” the President said in a pre-recorded statement.

“Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters,” he continued. “It’s on us, all of us, to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all our young people, men and women, can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them.”

After the Obama statement, abuse survivor and activist Brooke Axtell, the director of communications for Allies Against Slavery, a nonprofit that fights human trafficking, delivered a powerful speech about the struggles of escaping an abusive relationship.

“Authentic love does not devalue another human being,” she said. “Authentic love does not silence shame and abuse.”

Axtell said she was once bound to an abusive relationship, compelled by a need to heal her abuser. She eventually came to the realization that she could not heal the man, because his problems did not include her.

After he threatened to kill her, she said she knew she had to find a way to leave, when her mother finally convinced her to get help.

Katy Perry then paid tribute to victims of domestic and sexual abuse by performing “By the Grace of God.”

Watch her performance below:

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