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

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.)

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Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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