By Vanessa Herrera
“Till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.”
This is a quote from Lady Gaga’s new single “Til it Happens to You,” which is in support of the campaign “It’s On Us,” to end sexual assault especially in universities and colleges. This single line carries a heavy weight and truth. Truly, one will never know how it feels until you have experienced what victims have gone through. But that’s the thing, people should not have to go through this.
Sexual assault is an issue that is ignored by colleges and universities across the country. According to Alex Smith in her article Lady Gaga Just Released What Might Be The Most Important Music Video of the Year, one out of five college women will have experienced some sort of sexual assault this school year but only six percent are reporting it. Six percent! And it is for this number that Lady Gaga has released such a powerful video; not only to raise awareness but to empower survivors who feel afraid to speak up. As Lady Gaga tweeted,
It’s time to put a stop to this and make a change. Enough is enough. We have to break this barrier we have created in society where victims are too afraid to speak up. It’s time to stop asking, “What were you wearing?” or “Are you sure you didn’t consent?” It shouldn’t matter what you were wearing or anything else. What matters is whether consent was given or not. A verbal consensual yes has to be said because without it, it’s rape. It’s also time to stop hiding it. School institutions do all they can to try to hide sexual assaults but the question here is…at what cost? The cost of the victim’s silence? Distrust? Guilt? Shame? Yet the victim should not have to feel any of these emotions rather the opposite. They should feel loved, believed in, and most importantly given a voice.
So don’t be afraid to intervene.
Don’t be afraid to listen.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Join the movement and take the pledge on It’s on Us website: itsonus.org
Together we can make a change.