‘Take the power back’

Lady Gaga opens up about trauma of sexual assault she suffered at 19

Lady Gaga speaks at ELLE's 25th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Lady Gaga was honored at Elle magazine’s 25th annual Women in Hollywood celebration on Monday, where the popular singer gave an emotional acceptance speech that had her in tears almost from the moment she began. During her address, Lady Gaga, whose storied career recently took another turn after she won acclaim for her role in new film A Star is Born, shared her own struggle to deal with the trauma of sexual assault, spoke about the need for adequate mental health service in schools, and revealed what she thought it really meant “to be a woman in Hollywood.”

“I tried on dress after dress today getting ready for this event, one tight corset after another, one heel after another, a diamond, a feather, thousands of beaded fabrics and the most beautiful silks in the world. To be honest, I felt sick to my stomach,” Gaga told the crowd. “We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not simply images to bring smiles or grimaces to people’s faces. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public. We women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have deep thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values about the world, and we have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced.”

Gaga also explained the meaning behind outfit she wore to the event: an oversized beige Marc Jacobs suit. “As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants,” Gaga continued, gesturing to the beige Marc Jacobs suit.

The sexual assault she suffered at 19, Gaga said, had changed her “forever,” causing her to “shut down for many years” and suffer bouts of depression and shame, with which she continues to struggle. When she tried to speak about what had happened to her to “powerful men in this industry,” she added, none of them tried to help her.

“Those men hid because they were afraid of losing their power,” she explained. “And because they hid, I began to hide. I hid for a long time until I started to feel physical pain. Then I had to go to the doctor because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And then I was diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia … a syndrome that is essentially a cyclone of stress-induced pain.”

In the future, she said, she hopes that men and women alike would hold hands in the “fight for justice for women and men and those with other sexual identities.”

“For me, this is what it means to be a woman in Hollywood,” she concluded. “It means, I have a platform. I have a chance to make a change.” The singer stopped short of naming the man she said assaulted her, saying she’s “still not brave enough to say his name.”

Watch Gaga’s remarks in the video below.

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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