Singer Samantha Montgomery, the subject of documentary Presenting Princess Shaw premiering at SXSW, was sexually abused as a child. Her advice for fellow sexual abuse survivors is to tell someone, and her advice for loved ones of potential survivors is to pay attention and do something.

Samantha Montgomery’s Advice For Sexual Abuse Survivors

While trying to make ends meet in New Orleans, La., Montgomery never gave up on her dream of being a singer. She would perform at empty venues and post countless videos to YouTube under the user name of Princess Shaw, undeterred by the modest views. Her persistence paid off when Israeli musician Kutiman – real name Ophir Kutiel – discovered her. The Kutiman-produced version of Montgomery’s song “Give It Up,” layered with a beat and a variety of musical instruments, ultimately went viral. Documenting Montgomery’s overnight Internet fame was documentarian Ido Haar. His film, Presenting Princess Shaw, screened at SXSW back in March.

At one point in Presenting Princess Shaw, Montgomery opens up about being a sexual abuse survivor.

“I have some memories of [being abused] and some are locked in a vault and I think I’ll just keep it in the vault,” Montgomery told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “I haven’t did that in a long time – like cried about it – but it was horrific. And it was two different times. The first time was really bad. The second time, it was bad, but the first was sadistic.”

While Montgomery has managed to survive and thrive following the abuse, she’s wary of offering any trite advice, knowing how painful the experience is. And, according to Montgomery, even the people you think would support you no matter what could prove disappointing.

“It’s kind of hard to tell somebody what to do, especially as a child,” said Montgomery. “You don’t really know who to turn to, who to trust. I mean, you can tell your mother. The thing about nowadays, about abuse, is you can tell your mother, but sometimes they don’t believe the child. And then you feel lost, like there’s no where to turn.”

Montgomery added of offering advice, “I really don’t know what to say. I wanna say the normal thing: ‘Tell somebody.’ But, I’ve been in that position.”

Samantha Montgomery On ‘Presenting Princess Shaw,’ Being Discovered By Kutiman

Perhaps more consequential than urging victims to speak up would be calling on those outside of a given situation to pay attention when things don’t seem right with a loved one, according to Montgomery.

“If you see something that’s off… I mean nowadays people [are like], ‘I wanna mind my business.’ You have no idea what that child is going through on a daily basis,” Montgomery told uInterview. “Call whoever you gotta call and let them know. I think we should be more vigilant, looking out for stuff like that, and not just turning the cheek, ‘Well, it’s not my child.’ Some children go through some horrific, horrific stuff.”