Lady Gaga's latest release Til it Happens to You derives around Gaga's own experience of sexual assault and was written for the documentary The Hunting Ground - a documentary about the occurrences of rape and sexual assault on American University campuses.
It is only recently that Gaga (29) has spoken out about her sexual assault which happened when she was 19 years old:
"I didn’t know how to even think about it, accept it, how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life, it changed who I was completely, it changed my body, it changed my thoughts"
Statistics (United Kingdom):
Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year; that's roughly 11 rapes (of adults alone) every hour
- 1 in 5 women aged 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16
- Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police
- Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence
- 31% of young women aged 18-24 report having experienced sexual abuse in childhood
- 1 in 3 female students will experience sexual assault or abuse on campus (university)
- 43% of the above statistic will not report this
- 12% of male students will face unwanted sexual advances (university)
Statistics (United States):
- There is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year
- Approximately there is 1 sexual assault every 107 seconds
- Only 16% of all rapes in adults are reported to law enforcement
- 35.8% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17
- Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner
- 28% of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger
- About 35% of women who were raped as minors also were raped as adults, compared to 14% of women without an early rape history
As you can see, these statistics are absolutely shocking and something needs to change.
Through Gaga's release of Til it Happens to You; discussion of her own experiences of sexual assault; and role in The Hunting Ground documentary, Gaga uses her star persona and status as an advocate for these issues that face both men and women in today's society. As it stands, Til it Happens to you has had 6,774,962 listens on Spotify and is Gaga's second most popular song after Applause.
Given the sensitive nature of the song, Gaga strays away from her usual pop routes. She strips the piece back to show off her vocals and to emphasise the lyrics. This is a drastic change and is something I would like to see more of.
“Because of the way that I dress and the way that I’m provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way, that it was my fault.”
Gaga states that she felts as though she was to blame for her assault. We live in a society when victims of rape or assault often feel as though they are to blame. I would like to emphasise that this should not be and is not the case.
It does not matter what someone wears, how they behave, or how intoxicated they are, there is no excuse for sexual violence.
Disclaimer: it is important to acknowledge that rape and sexual assault is something that not only affects women, but men too.
Although the statistics focus on the UK and US, this is a World Wide problem.
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