Lady Gaga’s outrageous, often revealing costumes have been widely celebrated — but the singer says her provocative clothing also made her blame herself for being raped as a teenager.
“That was a big part of it for me,” she said Thursday during a TimesTalks panel discussion. “Because of the way that I dress, and the way that I’m provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it upon myself in some way; that it was my fault.”
Lady Gaga attends the TimesTalks event for “The Hunting Ground” with Diane Warren, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering at Times Center on Thursday in New York City.
The “Born This Way” singer laid bare her trauma’s lingering scars alongside musician Diane Warren, producer Amy Ziering and director Kirby Dick to promote their campus rape documentary “The Hunting Ground,” for which Gaga co-wrote and performed the orchestral rock ballad “Til It Happens to You.”
“I didn’t know how to even think about it. I didn’t know how to accept it. I didn’t know how not to blame myself, or think it was my fault,” said the 29-year-old musician, who revealed in an emotional interview with shock jock Howard Stern last year that she’d been raped when she was 19.
The horrific assault, which she didn’t share with anyone for about seven years, changed who she was “completely” and left lasting, recurring physical damage.
“It changed my body; it changed my thoughts. When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications on you,” she said.
“When you re-experience it throughout the years after it, it can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress — so a lot of people suffer from not just mental and emotional pain, but also physical pain of being abused, raped or traumatized in some type of way.”
Gaga performs at Lollapalooza 2007 in Grant Park on Aug. 4, 2007, in Chicago.
But the ever positive singer said she wants her Grammy-nominated song, which she co-wrote with Warren, to empower sexual assault survivors and let them know “that it was OK to feel that way.”
“And that you don’t have to maybe defend yourself so much,” she added. “Because until it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.”