Earlier this year, Lady Gaga released a disturbing music video for the song "Til It Happens To You," which served as the theme for the campus rape documentary "The Hunting Ground." It's an issue that hits close to home for the singer, who opened up about her own experience with rape during a during a TimesTalk session on Thursday to promote the film.
“I didn't tell anyone for, I think, seven years,” the singer said. “I didn't know how to 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. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely.”
Gaga revealed that she didn't tell anyone until she felt she "had to" because the man that raped her wouldn't leave her alone. "[He] didn't actually believe that [he] raped me," she said.
Gaga, who was named Billboard's "Woman of the Year," went on to say that the experience affected her not just emotionally, but physically as well.
"It changed my body. When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn't just have the immediate physical ramifications on you," she explained. "For many people it has almost like trauma. 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 only mental and emotional pain, but also physical pain of being abused, raped, or traumatized in some type of way."
The singer also said that she blamed herself for years, believing she had "brought it on [herself]," because of the way she dresses and the "way that [she's] provocative as a person."
It was just over a year ago that Gaga first revealed that she was raped at age 19. In an interview on "The Howard Stern Show," the singer explained that she wrote the song "Swine" about sexual violence. “The song is about rape, the song is about demoralization, the song is about rage and fury and passion -- and I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release," she said, adding that she avoided addressing the assault because she did not want "to be defined by it."
Watch the entire TimesTalk below:
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it's not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.
Also on HuffPost: