Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Friday, 18 September 2015

Lady Gaga’s Til It Happens To You Video Is Disturbing But Important

Lady Gaga’s Til It Happens To You Video Is Disturbing But Important

The Debrief: Campus rape and sexual assault is the focus of the PSA, which is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and shows that believing victims is paramount to their survival…

Lady Gaga’s new music video for Til It Happens To You, which doubles up as a public service announcement about campus rape, is terrifying viewing, but also pretty important if you want to get an idea of the sexual assault that goes on in university campuses.

Directed by Twilight’s director Catherine Hardwicke, the video opens with a warning: ‘The following contains graphic content that may be emotionally unsettling but reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses’.

Here is the video:

If you can’t watch right now, it follows three stories – one of a girl at band practice with a guy who physically overpowers her and rapes her, another of two girls at a party where a randomer spikes their drinks then takes them both home to rape them one by one, and one of a young trans man who’s raped after using the men’s toilets (the toilets trans people are allowed to use is a big issue on some campuses, and is an issue for every trans person who can’t ‘pass’ or find a gender-neutral toilet to use).

All the while, Gaga’s song, co-written with legendary writer Diane Warren – she’s done songs like LeeAnn Rimes’ How Do I Live and Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time – and containing lyrics like ‘You don’t know how it feels, ’til it happens to you’ plays over the scenes.

The aftermath of the hideous attacks is that each of the victims feel worthless, let alone to be able to do what they went to university to do – study. But at the end, there’s a resolution. It’s not all of the perpetrators being hauled out to prison (though they deserve it). It’s the simple act of people just listening to the victims and their stories.

At the end of the video – which serves as a trailer for The Hunting Ground, an upcoming documentary about campus rape – this caption pops up: ‘One in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes.’

If you have been affected by this video and would like to speak to someone please contact Rape Crisis  or call the National Rape Crisis helpline 0808 802 9999.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Music, Lady Gaga, University, Sexual Assault, Education, Rape