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A few months back, songstress Lady Gaga released a public-service music video about university sexual assault, to accompany a song for campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground. The song, Til It Happens to You, was co-written by Gaga and songwriter Diane Warren and is dedicated to survivors of sexual assault around the world. The emotional track has just been nominated for a Grammy, and the documentary is due for release. This is one particular project that resonates very deeply with the singer, and she has bravely chosen to speak out about her traumatic experiences in hopes of helping others that have gone through the same thing.
At a TimesTalk session for the documentary, Lady Gaga opened up about her own experience of sexual assault that occurred when she was 19. Her words are powerful and profoundly sad.
“I didn’t tell anyone for I think seven years,” Gaga said. “I didn’t know how to think about it. I didn’t know how to accept it. I didn’t know how not to blame myself, or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body.”
It was this experience partially inspired “Til It Happens to You,” and she said that she hopes telling her story and channelling it into artistic expression will help other young women who have suffered the same fate.“When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications on you,” she continued. “A lot of people suffer from not only mental and emotional pain, but also physical pain.”
Her interview is a difficult read, but the 29-year-old said she felt it was absolutely necessary to speak out to not only urge others to do the same, but to help fight the stigma that victims of rape can endure. “Because of the way that I dress, and the way that I’m provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way,” she said. “That it was my fault.” However, the star said she has emerged from the trauma stronger than ever, and hopes to unite those that feel the same way.
“I’m here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them. We don’t want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? Let’s just get rid of all that trash. Let’s get rid of it together.”
She isn’t the first public figure to speak openly about her experiences. Oxford student Ione Wells also opened up about her choice to participate in the #NotGuilty, a campaign to help victims of sexual assault not feel any blame and to promote education on consent from an early age. And Girls star Lena Dunham has previously stressed the importance of these women being taken seriously. At Sundance’s Serious Ladies panel, she said,
“One of the reasons it is important to talk about campus assaults is that these women in positions of incredible privilege are still being forced every day to fight for their truth and that is indicative of the fact that sexual assault is an epidemic and so many people are voiceless. I think campuses are a great place to start because that’s where we’re being educated and that’s where we’re told we’re going to be safe.”
These women are refusing to stay silent and are turning their distressing experiences into a positive message to help others, which is nothing short of inspirational.
Via The Cut