Despite Lady Gaga’s long history of involvement in activism, it’s still a little jarring to see her share a byline with New York governor Andrew Cuomo in their recent op-ed for Billboard.
The pair have joined together their distinct breeds of pop culture and political notoriety in order to shine a light on the Enough Is Enough bill — a comprehensive piece of legislation that will put private New York colleges under the same set of regulations for dealing with campus sexual assault as public learning institutions. Lady Gaga and Gov. Cuomo urge that this bill will adequately “address the issue of sexual violence on college campuses, giving the state the nation’s strongest laws to target campus sexual assault.”
Throughout the open letter, Andrew and Lady Gaga cite several statistics to argue the importance of the Enough is Enough legislation. For instance, one Center of Public Integrity investigation from 2010 revealed that perpetrators of sexual assault are only banned from campus between 10 and 25 percent of the time. In the state of New York, Lady Gaga and Gov. Cuomo say that around 5 percent of campus sexual assaults come to the attention of local police. About 16 percent of victims of these crimes seek help from an outside agency.
Lady Gaga is more than just impassioned about the issue — the pop artist is a survivor of sexual assault herself. Last December on The Howard Stern Show, she recounted the events of a sexual assault that took place when she was 19 at the hands of a producer in his late 30s. Lady Gaga spoke openly about how difficult it can be to report sexual assault, something that the Enough Is Enough bill hopes to rectify.
“I wasn’t really even willing to admit anything had happened… I don’t want to be defined by it. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let every creatively intelligent thing I do be defined by what one d**khead did to me. I’m going to take responsibility for all my pain, looking beautiful.”
Andrew and Lady Gaga closed the letter with an appeal to the public for support in making Enough is Enough a reality.
“[Campus sexual assault] is a shocking reality that many in academia, government, and society in general still refuse to acknowledge… By passing legislation such as the bill currently before the New York State legislature, we can turn the tide on this issue so that students can realize their dreams on campuses that are safe spaces. That’s why we are joining together to take a stand against sexual assault on college campuses. Quite simply, enough is enough.”
Do you think Lady Gaga’s involvement will help pass Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Enough Is Enough bill?
[Images via Alex Wong and Andrew Burton / Getty Images]