Trigger Warning! This video contains images that may be disturbing to many people, particularly those who’ve experienced trauma in their lives. But do know that the video ends with a message of healing.
Til It Happens to You by Lady Gaga
I continue to be impressed by Lady Gaga. She’s had her share of controversy, but she continues to utilize her position to advocate for causes important to both her and her Little Monsters. The Little Monsters’ website even has the following exhortation: “Remember to be brave, be kind, be respectful and most importantly… be yourself!” It’s almost as if Gaga is outrageous to make room for others to be fully themselves.
On Friday, Gaga released a new music video and song centered around campus rape. This is, of course, a topic that has, unfortunately, been in the news a lot (though it’s good we’re talking about it). The song, written by Diane Warren, is a plea for understanding and patience, and was the theme song for the film, The Hunting Ground, a documentary film about rape on college campuses. The video, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is a visceral exploration of some of the ways that rape happens and how people deal with the violation – isolation, self-blame, self-hatred, and more. The video ends by calling on us, the friends of those who’ve been victimized, to offer them support and understanding. Given the topic, I’m not sure how to review the quality of the music and the video beyond saying that both are beautiful and ultimately searing. I applaud Lady Gaga for handling the topic with grace and integrity.
In what must be a huge cosmic joke, though, on the same day as this video was released, the US House of Representatives voted to enact a one year freeze on funding for Planned Parenthood. The irony comes from the fact that Planned Parenthood, despite the misinformation, is a critical resource for women taking control of their sexual and general health. Beyond all of their other resources, for years, Planned Parenthood has been educating the public about issues of consent, and when sexual violence happens, they have been there with resources and care.
Of course, almost all college campuses have health services that can help women (and men) who have been sexually violated with the physical and psychological after effects of rape. But sometimes people don’t want to utilize campus resources for whatever reason. And rape doesn’t just happen at colleges. And that’s where Planned Parenthood often comes in. It’s a resource that many, particularly the most vulnerable, use. “More than half of Planned Parenthood centers are located in areas without ready access to health care,” according to Senator Warren.
If you, or someone you know, have been sexually assaulted, please seek help. It doesn’t matter when it was. As Planned Parenthood says, “ People may call a rape crisis hotline 5 minutes after a sexual assault, or 50 years after a sexual assault.”
You can contact the National Rape Hotline by phone at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673) or via the Online Hotline.