Lady Gaga addresses campus sexual assault in new video


Anna Yesilevskiy

Lady Gaga’s new song, “Till it happens to you,” which she co-wrote with Diane Warren for an upcoming documentary called “The Hunting Ground,” debuted a few weeks ago. The music video for “Till it happens to you” depicts the realities of occurrences of sexual assault across university campuses. This is a close issue to the pop singer as she has previously revealed that a music producer sexually assaulted her when she was nineteen years old. In an earlier interview, Gaga has commented on her assault and has stated, “It didn’t affect me as much right after as it did about four or five years later. It hit me so hard. I was so traumatized by it that I was like, ‘Just keep going,’ because I just had to get out of there.”

The music video for “Till it happens to you” opens up with a warning that states, “The following contains graphic content that may be emotionally unsettling but reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses.” It then goes on to depict several different scenarios of sexual violence occurring in various college settings. Statistics of sexual violence incidents are given at the end of the video and victims of sexual assault are prompted to call a help hotline. Furthermore, Lady Gaga plans to donate her earnings from the music video to charities that help survivors of sexual assault.

University students were questioned on what they thought of Gaga’s new song and the accompanying video. When asked if she thought it was a good idea for Gaga to create the song and video about this horrible occurrence, sophomore Alexandra Arnaiz said, “I think that someone as iconic as Lady Gaga taking action on something as horrific as sexual assault is inspiring.”

Furthermore, when asked on what she thought of the video and if she believes that the video captures the harsh realities of sexual assault, Arnaiz stated, “I watched the video and thought that it was graphic but necessarily realistic. People will only pay attention if you make them. This marks the beginning of an even bigger discussion on the problem.”

“It’s wonderful that she takes time out of her life to empower others. It’s remarkable and I’m sure many people appreciate it, because I do,” Arnaiz commented on Gaga donating to charities for sexual assault victims.

Another University student who gave her opinion on Gaga’s new song and video was freshman Jo Farshi. She stated that she believes it was a good idea to create the song and the video because they will help raise awareness about sexual assault. She added on, “If more people are aware of the problem, changes can be made.” Unlike Arnaiz, Farshi did not watch the video but has a similar opinion on the importance of the video showing us a realistic portrayal of sexual assault as she said, “I believe that it is important to show the realities of sexual assaults because it is an everyday problem that will only worsen if not enough people are aware.”

Regarding Gaga donating earnings to charities that help sexual assault victims, Farshi said, “I think that it will benefit both the survivors and the cause. Unlike other celebrities, Lady Gaga is showing that she truly cares about the victims.”

Junior Tyler Hurvul said that he had neither heard the song nor seen the video. However, he had a similar opinion on the production of both the song and the video as the aforementioned students. He said, “I think it is a good idea for celebrities to bring up controversial ideas like rape around college campuses.”

Hurvul also commented on Gaga’s donation to charities that help sexual assault victims. He stated, “I think it’s great that the proceeds will go toward something that will help them rather than go into Gaga’s pocket.” Furthermore, he added that he is certain that this video will raise a lot of money, which in turn will be beneficial to all of these charities.

Though Lady Gaga’s new song and music video have helped portray the realities surrounding sexual assault, it is still a huge issue that has to be more thoroughly discussed and examined.