Lady Gaga's powerful new video shows the reality of campus sexual assault.

We can end sexual violence — together.

Lady Gaga's career has been defined by memorable music videos. Her latest one is no exception.

But Gaga's new video isn't the flashy, avant-garde performance art she's usually known for. The video for her latest single, "Till It Happens to You" is the theme song for the documentary "The Hunting Ground," which focuses on the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and the school administrators who fail to help survivors and/or try to cover it up. (Full disclosure: I was interviewed for the documentary and make a few brief appearances in it.)



1 in 5 women — and 5% of men — are sexually assaulted during their college careers. Lady Gaga's new video aims to change that.

All images via "Till It Happens to You," LadyGagaVEVO.

"Till It Happens to You" is a powerful message for survivors and non-survivors alike.

In the video, Gaga captures how sexual assault can happen in different ways and that what we think of when we think of sexual assault or rape doesn't quite reflect reality.

The media often portrays sexual assault or rape as something committed by an obviously evil-looking villain who drugs his victims. But in reality, 82% of sexual assaults and 47% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and trusts.

And it's a big deal that a major pop star is using her platform to call attention to the fact that sexual assaults don't just happen in darkly-lit back alleys late at night or at alcohol fueled parties.


The video shows that it doesn't matter how assault happens. All survivors need the same thing: support.

All of the survivors in the video struggle with the aftermath of their assaults. To show the impact of the emotional trauma of assault, their thoughts and feelings are written in marker on different body parts.

But when they end up finding comfort in their friends, they transform. They go from shame and self-loathing...


...to hope and self-love.

Of course, Gaga is right, support is crucial — but it's important to note that everyone handles trauma differently. Just because your friend might not seem to be crying or scared, they still might just need a friend to come and hang out to provide a judgement-free space.

When a friend goes through a traumatic experience, it can be hard to understand what they're feeling. But what you can do is listen.

Showing support for a friend can mean everything from simply telling them "I'm here for you" to actually driving them to the therapist's office (at their request).

The song's chorus talks about how the trauma of rape or sexual assault is something that cannot be truly understood unless you go through it yourself:

Till It happens to you, you don't know how it feels, how it feels
Till it happens to you, you won't know, it won't be real
No, it won't be real, won't know how it feels

But even if you haven't personally experienced it, you can still be there for your friend by believing them and their story. It might seem small, but even something as simple as saying "I believe you" can make a huge difference.

In the video, it's the love and support from their friends that gives the survivors the strength to speak up.

It is common for victims to stay silent. In fact, 95.2% of campus rape victims never report. But the tide is beginning to change, thanks to survivors (like Gaga herself) who are speaking up.

Many survivors have created groups like Carry That Weight and Know Your IX to take action urging schools and the government to stand up and help create safer campuses.

They're sharing their stories. And now it's time for college campuses and the government to listen to what they're saying.

The best way to combat sexual assault is to believe survivors. To stand beside them when they share their stories. To make sure their voices are heard.

Sexual assault isn't just a women's issue. Or a survivor's issue. It's an issue for all of us. And we have to fight it together.

Watch the entire music video below:

(Trigger warning for depictions of sexual assault.)

More


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared