Lady Gaga gets real with If It Happens To You

Music videos, a lot of the time, are beautiful ways for artists to express the meaning behind songs that they love, songs that are released as singles, and songs that are usually found on the radio top 40 playlists.

Sometimes, however, artists pick songs that aren’t going to be a radio favorite, and won’t be played loud over a hip hop track in a club and they release a music video for those songs because they matter.

Recently, Lady Gaga did this with her song ‘Til It Happens To You’.

And the message is heavy, but it’s important.

One in five college women will be sexually assaulted across campuses unless something changes – unless we use our voices to stop it.

Sexual assault happens in an instant for the victim – but for the rapist – it’s an articulated plan.  The video gives three scenarios in which sexual assault frequently happens and the sad truth is; these assaults aren’t always done in some over theatrical move like you see in films – it happens when you’re out having drinks, when you’re using a co-ed bathroom, or when you’re in your dorm with a friend that you thought you could trust.

The video doesn’t just give a raw look into the assault – but into the characters in the video trying to find some type of normal again after – and how impossible that seems.  You see one of the victims being abandoned by a friend, one closing out the world all together, and one frantically searching for peace in their own mind.

Unfortunately, these are all way to common ways that life goes for a victim of sexual assault – and the reason behind it?  The stigma of the word rape.

Most victims are shamed into believing it was somehow their fault, some victims can’t talk about it to the people they love because they’re afraid of how much it would hurt them.  Victims of sexual assault carry a huge burden because they’re trying to protect the people around them at the same time that they’re watching their lives fall apart in front of them.

Rape isn’t something that’s casually brought up over dinner or coffee with friends – it’s not a topic that gets talked about enough, but one that needs to be discussed more.  It happens more often than you want to think about – but the harsh reality is – it’ll take voices to make it stop, it’ll take change before the stigma is released and the number of anticipated victims drops to zero.

Lady Gaga lent her song and video to help The Hunting Ground – a film that serves as a wake up to call to all of us.  If you’re a young person, click the link and read about their mission.  If you know someone affected by sexual assault – remind them that they’re not alone and that it’s not their fault, but don’t be offended if they shut you out.  It takes a long time to be able to even say the word for most victims.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault – please know that your value has not decreased, your worth has not been changed, and you are not broken.  You are stronger than the circumstance, even if it doesn’t feel like it – even if it never quite feels like it again.

If you’d like to watch Lady Gaga’s video – and we have to add that there are trigger warnings for people who have been victims, or have close friends that are, you can find it here.

It’s not a beautiful topic, it’s not something light to discuss, but it’s important.

Thank you, Lady Gaga, for giving a voice to those of us who had it taken away.

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.