Lady Gaga opened up this week about being raped at just 19-years-old. The 29-year-old singer shared the information during a TimesTalk with Diane Warren, Kirby Dick, and Amy Ziering in a discussion of the documentary, The Hunting Ground. The film is a “startling expose” of sexual assault, particularly pertaining to United States campuses, and how it affects the victims and their families.
The conversation was very powerful. They discussed the song Lady Gaga wrote entitled, “Till It Happens to You,” an emotional song about experiencing trauma. She and Diane Warren, co-wrote the song, which is up for a Grammy award in 2016.
Sometime during the discussion, Lady Gaga, which is an alias for Stefani Germanotta, became very candid about her experience, which she didn’t tell anyone about until several years after it happened.
“I didn’t tell anyone for, I think, seven years. 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.
Most notably, the “Poker Face” singer stated, “It changed my body. It changed my thoughts.” This is the sentiment that has been expressed by many rape victims. Though not all experience total trauma, others find the incident crippling. Gaga spoke about how, for her, the incident was traumatizing.
“When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications on you. For many people it’s almost like trauma. When you re-experience it throughout the years after it, it can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress, so a lot of people suffer from not only mental and emotional pain, but also physical pain of being abused, raped, or traumatized in some type of way.”
At 19-years-old, Lady Gaga was at the very beginning of her career. She was just starting out as one of the most iconic singers this generation has seen, and it seemingly spoiled it for her. It was revealed in a Howard Stern interview in 2014 that she had been raped by a producer who was 20 years older than her. Though there had been hints in her music along the way, like the 2013 release of her song, “Swine,” the news came as a shock to most.
Gaga stated that she always felt like being in the music industry was the start. It’s true that the celebrity world often sexualize women, and Lady Gaga admits that for a while, she believed it was her fault that she was attacked.
“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, over the past ten years, that thought has seemingly evolved. She’s found strength and wants to use this experience to show other young women that they, too, can rise above the trauma.
That’s the main reason she was so interested in helping with The Hunting Ground. She and Diane Warren worked together to create a song that would capture audience attention and bring more awareness to a serious situation that’s often overlooked.
“Me and Diane wanted to open the door to any person that went through any type of experience to know that I was okay to feel that way and to share that, and that you don’t have to maybe defend yourself so much because until it happens to you, they don’t know how it feels.”
She went on to express that since the incident, she’s felt herself become strengthened. Even standing on the stage, she feels more confidant than she ever has, and that she feels that she could defend herself and come out a stronger person in another serious situation.
As a final message to her fans, some of whom may have experienced a similar tragedy, the singer wants young girls to know that they’re not alone.
“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. “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.”
Lady Gaga has expressed a powerful message to women everywhere and helped to raise awareness for the growing disparity of rape in today’s society.