Lady Gaga Just Perfectly Explained the Enduring Trauma of Sexual Assault

“The brain changes. And literally what it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box, and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain”

Lady Gaga, star is born, Premier, red carpet
(Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

This week, Lady Gaga has been doing loads of press for her just-released film, A Star is Born. On each of her talk show appearances, she’s been serving up some leading-lady realness and getting us even more excited to see the her on the big screen alongside co-star and director Bradley Cooper. But on October 4, during her visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Gaga went beyond film promo to *perfectly* explain the enduring trauma of sexual assault.

Gaga starts the conversation but noting that the “debate” surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been “one of the most upsetting things I have ever witnessed.” She then continues on to tell the audience that she is a sexual assault survivor—which is something we’ve known since 2015, when Gaga told Howard Stern that she was raped when she was 19. Thirteen years later, you can hear her voice waiver as she talks to Colbert.

After shutting down anyone who claims Ford isn’t credible—she specifically mentions Donald Trump, who mercilessly mocked Ford at a rally this week—Gaga explains the physiological effects of trauma.

“If someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there is science and scientific proof, it’s biology, that people change. The brain changes. And literally what it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box, and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain,” Gaga said. (Coincidentally, a small study published earlier this week showed that sexual assault victims are more likely to have anxiety and depression, and also found that sexual assault has a direct impact on physical and mental health.)

She then continued to use the box metaphor to explain why Ford chose to come forward decades after the alleged assault: “When this woman saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered. And that box opened. And when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country.”

Hearing from someone who actually *gets* it is just the salve we needed at the end of an incredibly hard week. Thank you, Lady G.


U.S Senate Advances Brett Kavanaugh to Final Confirmation Vote
One Year After #MeToo, We’re Only Just Starting to Have the Right Conversations
The Long (But Not Exhaustive) List of Powerful People Accused Of Sexual Misconduct, Post-#MeToo

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