Over the weekend, I had a some free time. Keyword here being some, not a lot (#HomeWorkForDays).
Anyway, in the short lived time I had away from grad paper writing, I saw a link on Facebook about Lady Gaga’s newest song. It will be featured in an upcoming documentary about sexual assault on college campuses called The Hunting Ground.
The words are powerfully spot on & the video is chilling. It follows several women who were sexually assaulted & illustrates the effects the assaults have on their lives.
**Trigger Warning: As the videos warns viewers, the content is very graphic & could be unsettling for some. Proceed with caution.
This song is so powerful for so many reasons. For one, we as society do not talk about certain issues near enough. Anything to do with mental health is typically cast aside & shied away from. PTSD is all too often depicted in the media as a something that causes people to be violent. While this is SOMETIMES the case, most of the time it is not.
PTSD is feeling worthless. It’s hating yourself for what you’ve been through. For what someone else did to you. It’s not caring about your life & all the things you use to enjoy. It’s having who you are stripped away from you. You don’t get that back once the assault is over & your put your clothes back on. Finding who you are again is the hardest thing you will ever do.
Secondly, I feel the song’s lyrics speak volumes about society’s reaction to those who are raped. Victim blaming may be somewhat of an older term but, very unfortunately, it is not something in our society’s past. Not at all. Victims are blamed for their assault daily. Speaking from experience, this happens in medical settings, families, & with our friends. It can also happen in the legal arena, as well as when victims are questioned by police officers.
This has got to stop.
“You tell me “it gets better, it gets better,
You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together,
“You’ll be fine”
Tell me what the hell do you know,
What do you know,
Tell me how the hell could you know,
How! could you know.”
Another takeaway from the video, is how some well intentioned individuals minimize what happens after a rape, or even the rape itself. They think you can just, “get over it,” or, as Elsa says it, “Let it go.”
For me, it has been almost 4 years since my last encounter with my rapist. Four years since I’ve seen him & that SOB still haunts my darkest dreams. Though the flashbacks don’t crash in & out of the majority of my days anymore, they’re still there. Sleeping until something pokes them alive so they can come out & see if I’ve forgotten yet. Even though he isn’t physically anywhere near me now, I still see his face some days. All.The.Time. Wearing that stupid smirk I so hate.
Rape is not something you, “just get over.” Believe me, we would all like to. I would give anything if the torment of your mind was over with the physical act. Anything.
My main hope for this video & the upcoming film is that they spread awareness. Awareness of the effects of sexual assault, on campuses & everywhere else. I hope it gives a lens to those who have never experienced it into how rape makes you feel about yourself-long after the act alone is over.
“Till it happens to you, you don’t know
How it feels,
How it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real
No It won’t be real
Won’t know how it feels.”
A donation of the portions from this song will be donated to organizations who help survivors of sexual assault.