It took her seven years to tell another soul about her sexual assault. Now, Lady Gaga is sharing her story in the hope of helping others.
Lady Gaga has opened up about the trauma and pain caused by being raped as a teenager.
Speaking about the tragic experience that inspired her song Til It Happens To You, Gaga said it took her nearly a decade to talk about the incident to anyone and to stop blaming herself for the assault.
"I didn’t know how to think about it, I didn’t know how to accept it," the 29-year-old singer said in a recent New York Times panel discussion. "I didn’t know how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It’s something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed my thoughts."
Gaga also delved into some of the long-term effects of sexual assault.
"When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications," she said. "It can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress. So a lot of people suffer not just emotional and mental pain, but physical pain as a result of being abused, raped or traumatised in some way.”
According to Vanity Fair, Gaga was raped at the age of 19 by a man who was 20 years older.
She told the TimesTalk panel she hopes speaking about it now will help other survivors open up.
"I'm here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them,” Gaga said.
“We don't want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It's like, just get rid of all that trash. Let's get rid of it together.”
Last week was a big one for Gaga, who also accepted the Billboard Woman of the Year award.
In her acceptance speech, Gaga spoke about rampant sexism in the music industry.
"What I really want to say is that it is really hard sometimes for women in music. It's like a f---ing boys club that we just can't get in to," she told the adoring audience, according to People.
"I tried for so long, I just really wanted to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body ever in this business."
Gaga's Til It Happens to You was written for The Hunting Ground - a documentary about campus sexual assault - and has been nominated for a Grammy Award.
You can watch the music video here.
Gaga will donate a portion of the song's proceeds to organisations helping survivors of sexual assault.
If you need to talk to someone about your own experience, telephone counselling is available at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).