On Thursday, Joe Biden and Lady Gaga appeared before thousands of University of Nevada students to talk a delicate issue: sexual assault on college campuses.
Lady Gaga decided to join the rally due to her personal history of sexual assault. According to the pop singer, she was raped when she was 19 years old, a dreadful experience that inspired her to compose the Grammy-winning song ‘Til It Happens to You.’ Reportedly, not even the singer’s aunt and grandmother had known about Gaga’s abuse until the song was released.
Biden congratulated the artist for her courage of sharing her inner struggles and post-traumatic experience to make the world a better place.
The duo’s action is part of a larger White House-endorsed campaign called “It’s On Us,” which is designed to help sexual assault victims break the silence and witnesses to take a stand against the abuse.
Biden noted that it takes great courage for a sexually abused victim to speak about the experience and even sing a song about it. He added that song is ‘branded’ in Gaga’s heart.
Lady Gaga, who strives to let her wounds finally heal by helping others, agreed to perform the song at a black piano at the University of Nevada. Black is usually the color picked by the sexually abused because they feel the experience has stained them.
Gaga also said that it was a honor to join the rally on Thursday. She told reporters that the past abuse helped her understand that the most powerful feeling a human being can experience is compassion.
She recommends anyone that knows a person who was sexually abused to ‘truly lend an ear’ even if they cannot fully grasp what happened. Plus, she said that this method can become a powerful therapy tool for rape victims because they will fulfill their sense of loneliness that has haunted them since the day of the abuse.
Biden delivered a 40-min speech on sexual assault, which has morphed in recent years into a “sick cultural norm.” He mentioned passive attitudes and stigma as ways of making sure that the victim never recovers. He also urged audience to get involved and have an active voice if they witness an episode of sexual violence.
Biden and Gaga have met before this year at the Academy Awards ceremony where the Vice President introduced the superstar before her performance of the song that featured on the official soundtrack of “The Hunting Ground,” a film about sexual assault on U.S. campuses.
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