Lady Gaga's Oscars Performance Is Inspiring Survivors to Come Forward
Lady Gaga invited dozens of survivors of sexual abuse to stand in solidarity onstage with her at the Oscars on Sunday night. The emotional performance of "Til It Happens to You," introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, elicited tears from Kate Winslet, hugs from Brie Larson, and accolades on social media by everyone from Kesha to the United Nations.
The concert has also inspired women to come forward and make public their own stories of surviving sexual assault. After Gaga's performance, actor and model Jaime King thanked the pop star, tweeting to her that she "finally felt a true healing from years of abuse as a minor in the industry. Time to be brave."
On Monday, King elaborated in an Instagram post in which she revealed that her abuse began at the age of 12. "It's a night of celebration, of change, of not being ashamed of your race, creed, color, situation, circumstances and environment, or past," King wrote on Instagram. "Now I am free, somewhat."
King also thanked a number of friends and loved ones, including Gaga "for breaking me whole last night and tonight" and writer and actor Lena Dunham for her bravery in publicly sharing her own experience of sexual assault. Gaga responded on Twitter on Tuesday, calling King a warrior. "I don't feel alone anymore watching this happen is unreal," she wrote.
King was not the only person who saw Gaga's performance as a call to action. In a blog post published on Monday, former two-time Bachelor contestant Jade Roper wrote that watching survivors onstage "showing the world that what happened to them does matter" inspired her to write about her sexual assault at the age of 16—something she said she didn't tell her family about.
Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men—or roughly 23 million Americans—has been raped in his or her lifetime, according to White House statistics. The Obama administration last year launched the campaign "It's on Us" to raise awareness about assaults, provide education about consent, and offer pledges to take action against assault.
"We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman or man like the survivors you will see here tonight ever feel that they have to ask themselves, 'What did I do,' " Biden said while introducing Gaga at the Oscars. "They did nothing wrong."
SURVIVOR - Thank you @kyle_newman for loving me whole | My children | @lenadunham for her relentless bravery that always leads my Spirit to stand up| Dr. Randy Harris for YEARS of empathy | Michael Hayes @awaketolove ~ there are no words | Dr. Allan Phillips | @erikaklein | @ladygaga | #DianeWarren for breaking me whole last night and tonight| TS I love you for being there no matter what| Thank you to the only people I have told | Thank you to @damhave ~ you know why | Thank you @hooligandreamer| Thank you @amandadecadenet | Thank you to @unwomen & all organizations that have tirelessly worked to somehow comfort & make right | Thank you to myself to not choosing to not make this a cover story though that was what was suggested to me but to express from my heart to you all personally which felt the most honest way for me to speak | Thank you to my Soul, body, mind, emotions, my inner child, my younger self, I love you. It's a night of celebration, of change, of not being ashamed of your race, creed color, situation, circumstances and environment, or past. Now I am free, somewhat. Thank you for the switch that went off inside finally when I realized my silence said I cannot help nor change and that is not who I am. I love you all very much for creating a safe space. The time is now. I was about 14 here, it started at 12. Peace Be Still ❤️