Lady Gaga took a break from filming American Horror Story: Hotel to tackle a different type of horror: the rape epidemic that's spreading among college campuses. Her newest music video for "Til It Happens To You," features graphic depictions of rape occurring in places that could be found on any college campus in the country - a dorm room, a party, a bathroom. The end result is absolutely chilling, which isn't surprising when you consider the warning that precedes it. The video begins with the following message floating across a black background: "The following contains graphic content that may be emotionally unsettling but reflects the reality of what is happening daily on college campuses."
TIHTY, written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren and performed by Gaga, is an original song created to accompany The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses that was first released earlier this year. Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was brought in to direct, and the video features a few faces that may be familiar, such as Kiersey Clemons, who starred in Dope, and Nikki Reed, also of Twilight fame.
In the song and video, Gaga, Warren, and Hardiwcke place the focus on recovery and hope. The story portion of the video ends on a triumphant note when survivors link up with family and friends and walk away proudly - all save for one shadowy figure who stands alone at the very end, which may represent those who never tell anyone about the sexual assault they suffered, or those who have no support systems.
Though there are so many pop stars who are guilty of being graphic just for the sake of drumming up publicity, that clearly isn't the case here. Lady Gaga posted the following message on Twitter last night to accompany the video: "We hope u feel our love & solidarity through the song & perhaps find some peace in knowing u r not alone through this film." She's putting her money where her mouth is, too; a portion of proceeds from the video will be donated to organizations that provide aid for survivors of sexual assault.
It's pretty heavy stuff, and though it's very hard to watch, it's inspiring some very necessary conversations about a topic that, all too often, gets brushed under the rug. If you feel like you're ready for it, TIHTY can be viewed below.