Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler celebrated the opening this week of Janie’s House, a facility in Memphis, Tennessee, for girls who have been abused or neglected.
The Grammy-winning singer, known for tying scarves around his microphone stand, attended a “scarf-cutting” ceremony on Monday at the house he helped fund that provides a safe space for abused girls in the Memphis area.
“This does my heart and my soul good,” Tyler said at the opening. “This is real.”
The house and its name were inspired by Aerosmith’s 1989 hit, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” written by Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton, about a young girl who uses drugs to mask the pain of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.
Tyler, 70, said his time at a treatment center exposed him to the realities of young victims of abuse.
“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,” he said. “So when I got out of there, I laid it all on Janie. I said what are you going to do?”
Tyler’s foundation, Janie’s Fund, which he launched in 2015, donated nearly $500,000 to the new project.
One in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18, according to the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Janie’s Fund was created to bring more awareness to the abuse and neglect of children and to generate financial support to “ensure that girls receive the most effective services available to help them overcome the trauma and pain of abuse,” the foundation’s website says.
The facility is operating out of the location of a nonprofit known as Youth Villages in Bartlett, northeast of Memphis. Youth Villages says it helps emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully.
Up to 30 girls between 12 and 18 years old are expected to be helped annually and given access to medical and therapeutic care. They will stay an average of four to six months at the house with the goals of reuniting them with their families or finding another stable home, officials said.
The first and only other Janie’s House opened in 2017 in Dougslasville, Georgia, about 20 miles west of Atlanta.