In a surprising twist from the usual flare and dramatics that Lady Gaga has come to be known for, the singer has taken a completely different path for the music video for her song “Till It Happens To You.” The song is the product of Gaga teaming up with the legendary songwriter Diane Warren earlier this year. The aim was to write a song for the campus rape documentary, The Hunting Ground, and it has so heartrendingly captured the sexual assault so many women face on far too regular a basis.
The somber tone of “Till It Happens To You” touches on a note of grief that Gaga has never before dared to reach and many college students are sure to find the song not only beautiful in its tone but enlightening as well. While the documentary debuted earlier this year the music video for “Till It Happens To You,” directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen), is a new release. Some very all too common instances of sexual assault are depicted in a graphic manner that just may trigger some unpleasant memories for anyone who has been in this situation.
The Atlantic perfectly describes how Gaga’s powerful delivery made the song as heartbreaking as the subject matter of sexual assault deserves. The leading ladies in “Till It Happens To You” start out in everyday activities from studying in a dorm room, dressing in the bathroom, to just going out to have some fun at a party. It doesn’t take long though for male acquaintances to target the women, using sheer brute strength and even drugs to violate the bodies and minds of the female students. A woman trying to fight off a “friend” twice her size, another woman’s tears as she is slammed into a counter and assaulted from behind and another passed out from drugs with her underwear at her ankles while her rapist has his way with her friend as well.
Rape and sexual assault, not just on campus, is a topic that shows no signs of ending as the rape culture in our society blatantly continues, and blame is placed on the shoulders of the women with hints that if they had just done more to prevent it the situation would not have arisen. The video for Gaga’s single “Till It Happens To You” spares no punches as it gives the viewer an in-depth look into the lives of these women as they struggle through not just the act but the aftermath of the sexual assault. A sense of the violators deep impact on their lives is gained as the women write upon their flesh words such as “I’m worthless” and “Sometimes I hate myself.” Gaga’s powerful voice in “Till It Happens To You” gives life to the suffering victims can experience days, weeks, months or even years later. Eventually these assaulted women find solace in their community and friendship, learning to move forward from the trauma but leaving viewers with the urge to do something to help the victims.
As the victims in “Till It Happens To You” take steps towards their freedom a frame of a solitary woman closes out the emotions and leaves watchers emotionally bereft as the enormity of campus rape and its effects stains the mind. The video gives a powerful statistic revelation at the end and invites discussion on Facebook via The Hunting Ground‘s page and ItsOnUs.org. A helpline is also offered to support rape victims.
“One in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes.”
Time announced that organizations working to support survivors and combat sexual assault will receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Lady Gaga’s “Till It Happens To You.”
[Photo Courtesy of Vevo]