Trigger warning: This post deals with sexual assault.
Lady Gaga has opened up about her experience of being raped by a record producer when she was 19.
Last year, the singer revealed to Howard Stern that she was raped by a man 20 years her senior, who used to tell the public they were dating. Today, Gaga has opened up with Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape.
At a panel session for the film, Gaga shared, “I didn’t tell anyone for I think seven years.” She continued, “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.”
Gaga went on to explain how the experience changed her body. “When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications on you,” she said. “For many people it has almost like trauma, where you re-experience it through the years after it, it can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress.”
Lady Gaga is hoping that opening up about her own experience will help other young people who have suffered similar trauma.
“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,” she said in the panel session. “We don’t want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It’s like, just get rid of all that trash. Let’s get rid of it together.”
Her song Til It Happens To You is partly inspired by her experience of sexual assault. Gaga recently told the New York Times, “It was really hard for me when [the song] came out. I was really stressed out about it. Every time I listen to it, I cry. Every time I get a text about it, I always feel sick. It’s like this thing you don’t want to face. But because she wanted to face it with me, it reminded me of what the song is for.”
Lady Gaga is working closely with Diane Warren on The Hunting Ground, and hopes that sharing her story will go some way towards eradicating rape culture and sexual assault on campus.
You can watch “Til It Happens To You” below.