"All the girls I met had been abused either physically, mentally or verbally, or at least 90 percent of them," the frontman of Aerosmith said.
It's been decades since Steven Tyler rocked his way into the hearts of people across the world. And he continues to do so, not just through his music, but also through his efforts that offer love and support to people who deserve it.
For a few years now, he has been raising awareness and money to uplift girls who have survived sexual abuse. He went on to set up his foundation — Janie's Fund, a home for abused and neglected girls, where they can heal from the trauma.
If you're wondering whether the name for Janie's Fund has anything to do with their hit song, Janie’s Got a Gun, it certainly does. The song told the story of a young girl who was abused by her father and this 1989 hit song became the inspiration for Janie's Fund. But this time, it's healing and supportive home that Janie will have.
"As a father and grandfather, I want to focus my energy on things that really matter and leave behind something else in this crazy world along with my music," the Aerosmith frontman said in a statement, as reported by Rolling Stone. "I am starting Janie’s Fund to give a voice to the millions of victims who haven’t had one and encourage everyone to join me on this mission."
On one of the fund's pages, the singer had written, "We can’t undo what’s been done by abuse in this country…but we CAN let these girls know they are loved, get them the help they need, and assure them that there is MUCH LIGHT at the end of the tunnel."
After the fund was launched in 2015, the first Janie's House was set up in 2017 in Douglasville, Georgia. The second facility of Janie's House was opened in Memphis, Tennessee in February 2019, as reported by NBC News.
During the opening of the second house, Tyler said, "This does my heart and my soul good. This is real."
Both the houses have been opening their arms and their doors to abused and neglected girls, and help them overcome the pain that was inflicted upon them.
The rock icon who's the voice behind hits like Dream On and I Don't Want To Miss A Thing was moved by the stories he heard of young victims that he met at a treatment center.
"While I was there, all the girls I met had been abused either physically, mentally or verbally, or at least 90 percent of them all," said Tyler who's now in his 70s. "So when I got out of there, I laid it all on Janie. I said, what are you going to do?"
His foundation donated $500,000 to Youth Villages to set up the second Janie's House and was able to raise 4 million dollars for it. About 14 girls can be provided support at one time in Janie's House and about 26 to 30 girls will be served every year, according to Youth Villages' marketing and communications director Crissy Lintner, as reported by KDVR.
The girls, aged between 12 and 18, remain at the house for about four to six months while they receive medical and therapeutic care. As they begin their healing process, they will also be given support to reunite with their families or find themselves a home where they will feel safe and loved.
Among the many girls whose lives have changed through Janie's House is JaBrayia who was abused at the tender age of three. According to WJHL, the teenager said, "The reason that I am at Janie’s House is because I experienced sexual abuse at the age of three. Through Janie’s House, I can learn a lot about my past and learn I was not the only one that had been through the same problems."