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.)

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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