Lady Gaga Inspires ‘Til It Happens To You’ Sing-Off

Lady Gaga has embodied the unique courage associated with victims of sexual assault with her release of “Til It Happens to You” and her subsequent revelations that the song has personal meaning for her. Ms. Gaga revealed live on the televised Academy Awards that she had been a victim of sexual assault. This confession came even before opening up about this part of her life to most of her own family. Gaga inspired millions with her voice, as well as with the messages contained in “Til It Happens to You.” Now, Lady Gaga’s voice is becoming just part of a larger chorus, as more survivors of sexual assault make “Til It Happens to You” their own anthem.

Lady Gaga inspires a survivors’ sing-off with The Hunting Ground song

The song “Til It Happens to You” is found on Gaga’s newest album, The Hunting Ground, but it will soon be heard all across the nation, thanks to a nationwide sing-off. Although the song, which the Lady of Pop co-wrote with Diane Warren, didn’t win an Oscar at this year’s awards, it has inspired a college-level competition. Survivors of rape and sexual assault and their allies are all joining the contest, which requires each entrant to perform a cover of “Til It Happens to You” to help raise awareness, education, and prevention. It’s hoped that the Lady Gaga-inspired event will increase the reporting of sex crimes as well.

Currently, the “Til It Happens to You” contest has narrowed down the competitors to 14 semi-finalists. The public can vote on those entrants, until the competitors are narrowed down to three finalists. The last round will perform for a panel of judges comprised of Diane Warren, LL Cool J, and Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia.

Three Miles Lost, an all-female a cappella group at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is currently leading with the most votes.

“Til It Happens To You” may not have won an Oscar, but that doesn’t mean Lady Gaga didn’t make an impact

A photo posted by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) on

The Oscars were jam-packed with memorable moments this year, but perhaps nothing was more emotionally charged as Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens to You.” The survivors of sexual assault joining Lady Gaga on stage for the live performance all had the words “survivor” and “not my fault” written on their arms.

Actress Brie Larson hugged each survivor as the group left the stage at the close of Lady Gaga’s song.

“I didn’t know how to think about it. I didn’t know how to accept it,” Lady Gaga said of having been raped at the age of 19. “I didn’t know how not to blame myself, or think it was my fault.”

Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke out against sexual assault as well, expressing support for friend Lady Gaga. Biden says he’s ashamed of the growing number of sexual assault victims, which comprises both women and men. He has called on Americans to make a pledge to intervene in situations where consent to engage in sexual activities has not been given.

Since the Oscars, singer Kesha’s battle against the record producer she says raped her has sparked a public controversy with many offering the singer their support. Even at the time of the Academy Awards, Kesha’s situation was known and she tweeted a message of thanks to both Joe Biden and Lady Gaga.

“Thank u @ladygaga and VP @JoeBiden for bringing attention to sexual assault at the oscars. it hit very close to my heart for obvious reasons.”

On her acting career, Lady Gaga is expected to return for Season 6 of American Horror Story, though there hasn’t yet been any official word, one way or the other.

[Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]