Lady Gaga has spoken out about being raped at the age of 19, saying she hopes to inspire other victims of sexual abuse by sharing her story.
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The ‘Applause’ singer revealed at a TimesTalk panel discussion that it took six years for her to first open up about the harrowing experience, explaining: “ I didn’t know how to think about it. I didn’t know how to accept it.
“I didn’t know how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It’s something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed my thoughts.”
Lady Gaga arrives at the TimesTalk event
Elaborating on how it “changed her body”, she continued: “For many people it has almost like trauma, where you re-experience it through the years after it. It can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress.
“So a lot of people suffer not just emotional and mental pain, but physical pain as a result of being abused, raped or traumatised in some way.”
Explaining why she decided to speak so candidly about her ordeal, she told the audience: “I'm here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them.
“We don't want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It's like, just get rid of all that trash. Let's get rid of it together.”
Gaga spoke for the first time about her sexual assault in an interview on ‘The Howard Stern Show’ last year, admitting she was not prepared to be defined by the experience.
Back in September, Gaga unveiled ‘Till It Happens To You’, a song which honours victims of sexual abuse, taken from the soundtrack to ‘The Hunting Crowd’, a documentary about rape on college campuses.
Listen to the emotional track below:
Useful helplines and websites:
Victim Support - Visitvictimsupport.org.uk or call 0808 168 9111
Sexual Abuse Referral Centres - Find a SARC
Rape Crisis - Visit rapecrisis.org.uk or call 0808 802 9999
The Rape and Abuse Line - Visit rapeandabuseline.co.uk or call 0808 800 0123 (answered by women) or 0808 800 0122 (answered by men).