It’s almost too easy to say the words, “I understand.”
Do you? Do you actually understand, or are you just someone to talk to?
Don’t get me wrong, being someone who listens is huge, but being someone who listens and gives advice from their own experiences is a different kind of huge.
At the 2016 Oscars, Lady Gaga touched millions of people with her new song “Til It Happens To You.” Gaga co-wrote the song for the CNN documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” which explores different forms
of sexual abuse, including rape on college campuses in America.
She was introduced by none other than Vice President Joe Biden, after he spoke about the “It’s On Us” White House campaign that addresses sexual assault. With Kesha’s current situation under the Hollywood spotlight (see last week’s Scout), Gaga is one of many celebrities voicing an opinion and expressing support for Kesha in this tough time.
A group of sexual assault survivors accompanied Gaga on stage while she sang about her own personal struggle with sexual assault. In a 2014 interview with radio personality Howard Stern, Lady Gaga revealed she had been raped at the age of 19.
The survivors on stage Sunday night exposed bare arms with words and phrases like “Survivor,” “Not Alone,” “Unbreakable” and “Not Your Fault” written on them. These words were raised into the air at the end of the song when the survivors joined hands, Gaga included; and raised an even bigger standing ovation throughout an audience of tears, speechlessness and emotion.
#ItsOnUs has been trending in the Twittersphere since the performance, and it was so moving that it has not only crashed the “It’s On Us” campaign website, but also raised awareness on issues that are more real than a lot of people believe.
Further addressing this issue has been long overdue. According to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, “one in four college women will be the victims of sexual assault during her academic career.”
Survivors have a hard time coming forward about their assaults because it involves unlocking the door they have tried so hard to keep shut. This is anything but a light topic, and shouldn’t be treated as one. It happens every day and needs to be acknowledged for those unable to speak up.
The Oscars this year gave out more than awards. They gave support to the people that might not have gotten it otherwise. All of those people on stage experienced a devasting reality, and the overwhelming confirmation from the audience that the words on their arms are accurate, is the first stage of a necessary healing process.
Lady Gaga stands as someone who can say the words “I understand” and actually mean it. Her honest and courageous performance had nothing but a positive impact on the 2016 Oscars, and Gaga’s emotional performance will be hard to forget.