Lady Gaga has just released a powerful music video. It depicts the shocking and brutal reality of women being raped on college campuses in America.
Till It Happens To You starts with the message: “The following contains graphic content that may be emotionally unsettling but reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses.”
The video – shot in black and white – shows four young female students who are all raped.
One is attacked by a friend, who initially jokes around with her but then forces himself onto her as she screams for him to ‘stop’.
Two friends at a house party are targeted by a fellow student, who ‘date rapes’ them by putting a pill in their drinks and taking them upstairs. We see one with her knickers round her ankles, unconscious on a chair.
The fourth is a woman with short hair and bandaged breasts. She’s raped in a bathroom, pushed over the counter.
Each scenario is shot to appear realistic. And by making sure the attacks differ in location, scenario and the appearances of both rapist and victim, Gaga is breaking the myth of there being a ‘typical rape’.
The video then goes on explores the effect eacj sexual assault had on the women.
One has a message on her arms reading ‘I am worthless’ as Gaga sings: “Till your world burns and crashes / Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope / Till you’re standing in my shoes / I don’t wanna hear a thing or two from you, from you, from you.”
It’s only when the women start to open up to others and seek support that they start to heal.
The messages written on their bodies change to ‘I am worthy’ and ‘I love myself’ – and the video ends with them walking confidently together.
It’s already been praised on social media for its “incredible message” and “beauty”.
The song will feature on the soundtrack for The Hunting Ground, a documentary on campus rapes in America, and is dedicated to survivors of sexual assault around the world.
Gaga tweeted directly to survivors saying she hoped they could find some peace and love in the song.
She also said a portion of proceeds from the song would be donated to organisations working with survivors of rape and assault.