By: Nicole Shermet, IATG ContributorMarch 7, 2016
Another Oscars has come and gone. Many people are talking about Leo finally winning his Oscar, but for me, the most memorable part was Lady Gaga’s performance of “‘Til It Happens To You.”
That song brings me to my knees and brings tears to my eyes. It strikes a chord with me unlike any other song. It’s powerful for the way it sheds light on the ongoing issues of rape and consent, ones that are embedded in all areas of our society, but especially prevalent on college campuses.
To me the song’s lyrics are more than just powerful, they are real. How can someone truly know how it feels to be a victim if they haven’t gone through it themselves? I never truly understood the pain, shame, self-loathing, and many other emotions brought up from assault until I was in my second year of university. Never once did I imagine I would be a part of the statistic, that I would be the girl who was taken advantage of.
It was hard enough coming to terms with my own feelings, let alone having someone else understand. Making assumptions or pressing ideas onto someone isn’t going to help. Be understanding, supportive, and willing to listen, that’s what helps.
I don’t want this to keep happening to other women or men. That’s where Lady Gaga comes in. The highlight of the performance was when the 50 survivors joined her on stage. It was inspiring to see them all standing together. All the brave men and women came forward who are all dealing with their own pain. This simple act helps bring a voice and face to the issue. I think I was important to have men standing on stage as well as we often forget they’re victims too. The words written on the survivors’ arms were poignant, bringing to light common stigmas and taboos surrounding consent and sexual assault. The phrases of support and encouragement reminded people they are not alone and that there is help in the healing.
We need to be open with each other and talk about these issues honestly.
We need to have conversations with both sexes, because it’s everybody’s responsibility to prevent future sexual assaults and create positive change.
The individuals that took part in the performance, along with Lady Gaga herself, sharing their stories inspired me to write this article. The more we see and hear sexual assault and consent being addressed on a broad, national level, the easier it will be to overcome.
From Your IATG Family: If you or someone you know has had an experience with sexual assault or violence, know you are not alone! Visit/share our resource page to learn about where you can find the help, healing, and safe support you or others need.
What did you think of Lady Gaga’s performance and her ongoing discussion about her own experiences with sexual assault? What needs to change to make campus culture a safer place for everyone?
Nicole is a 2012 communications and business graduate, who then specialized in Public Relations. She grew up in the Great White North (aka Canada) and recently moved to London. A top priority is trying to navigate adulthood. Her interests include travelling, exercising, and finding edible gluten & dairy free treats (darn allergies)
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