Singer Lady Gaga released a powerful music video on Thursday about the impact of sexual assault for her song "Til It Happens To You." Gaga, who famously teamed up with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this summer to pass legislation on fighting campus sexual assault, created this video to accompany campus sexual assault documentary "The Hunting Ground."
Lady Gaga's personal experience with sexual assault
The video, which includes painful instances of sexual assault, wraps up with the statistic that one in five undergraduate women experience an attempted or completed sexual assault while they are in college. This is not the first time Gaga has included the issue of sexual assault in her music. Late last year, she revealed to radio host Howard Stern that her 2013 song "Swine" was about being sexually assaulted at age 19 by a man 20 years older than her.
"It didn't affect me as much right after as it did about four or five years later," she said. "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."
Even today, Lady Gaga says she would be traumatized to see this man in person.
"I think it would terrify me," Gaga said. "It would paralyze me. I saw him one time in a store and I was paralyzed by fear. It wasn't until I was a little bit older that I went, 'Wow, that was really messed up.'"
Lady Gaga and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Enough is Enough" campaign
In June, Gaga and Cuomo wrote a piece about sexual assault to promote "Enough is Enough," the governor's legislation lobbying for improved campus sexual assault policies. "Enough is Enough," which Cuomo signed into law in June, proposed a statewide standard of affirmative consent for sexual assault as well as a sexual violence victim and survivor bill of rights. The policies apply to all colleges in New York, including private schools.
During this time, Cuomo hosted screenings of "The Hunting Ground."
In their piece, Gaga and Cuomo said that sexual assault can destroy a person's college experience.
"Every fall, young men and women head off to colleges across the country, dreaming of bright futures and the experience of a lifetime," Cuomo and Gaga wrote. "They’ve worked hard for the chance to become a part of their new campuses, and they set out full of hope and excitement. Unfortunately, for thousands of these students that dream turns into a nightmare because of the unacceptable epidemic of sexual violence that is currently plaguing colleges and universities. It is a shocking reality that many in academia, government, and society in general still refuse to acknowledge."
"It's On Us"
A few weeks ago, the White House released a star-studded anti-rape PSA called "It's On Us: One Thing." The "one thing" all the celebrities in the video are talking about is consensual sex.
The video is part of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's "It's On Us" campaign against campus sexual assault.
It's important that the president and other public figures such as Gaga continue to inform people about how to fight against sexual assault. Earlier this year, Inside Higher Ed released its fifth annual Survey of College and University Presidents, which reported that one third of college presidents understand that campus sexual assault is prevalent in the American college system. Only six percent of the surveyed college presidents, however, think sexual assault is prevalent on their own campuses.
"'It’s On Us' recognizes that the solution to sexual assault begins with all of us," a White House release states. "It seeks to reframe the conversation surrounding sexual assault in a way that inspires everyone to see it as his or her responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it."
For more information on the problem of campus sexual assault, watch ATTN:'s short video on the issue: