Ahead of performing her Oscar-nominated song, "Till It Happens to You" at the 2016 Academy Awards, Lady Gaga spoke about rape.
In her words:
It's such an important song to me. One in five women will be raped before they finished college. One in twenty men will be raped before the time they finish their schooling at their university. It's something that is deeply connected to my heart, I am myself a survivor. Diane Warren is herself a survivor of sexual violence, and we are here tonight. I'm very grateful to the Academy for giving us this world stage to reward survivors for being brave and coming forward. I'm really happy to be here.
The song was featured in the documentary The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses.
Though it's somewhat surprising to hear women speak out about sexual assault in the context of the Oscars red carpet, Lady Gaga has spoken openly about her own experiences as a victim before. "It’s something in my life that’s always really kind of defined me up until this point," she told The Associated Press, adding, "in a strange way I feel like it won’t define me anymore after I sing it on TV at the Oscars, if I can let it go maybe."
And Lady Gaga has come out in support of Kesha after the pop star lost a lawsuit against Sony, and was told she'll have to continue working with a man she says sexually assaulted her.
Later, Vice President Joe Biden introduced the singer, and delivered a powerful message on sexual assault himself. "They did nothing wrong," said Biden, referring people to the It's On Us website.
A group of male and female rape survivors stood with Lady Gaga on stage as she belted out the ballad.
— Lady Gaga Facts (@LGMonsterFacts) February 29, 2016
The incredibly moving performance brought many members of the audience to tears.
And the rest of us were moved as well.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.