I received a call last week around 9 PM from one of my amazing aunts. This aunt, in particular, holds a special place in my heart. From the start she was my Godmother, but she became my best friend. She was also the Maid of Honor at my wedding.
When she called, she was crying and telling me how strong how I am. She also told me that she was sorry for not realizing how much I had gone through. My aunt said she was trolling Lady Gaga on YouTube and came across a video of Lady Gaga performing “Til It Happens to You.” While watching the performance she immediately thought of me.
I told her that I knew she always thought that I was strong, and that we have talked about things before, just maybe not for a long period of time. She was one person I reached out to for my project involving my family and friends. She told me that she is not good at writing her emotions, so her part was short, but sweet.
I reminded her that I wouldn’t be here right now without the support of her, even if we don’t talk about it all that much. After we hung up, I went to watch the performance. Click here:Lady Gaga – Til it happens to you live
While I had heard the song before, I think I only half listened to it, either because I was working on something else or because I didn’t know what kind of emotion it would stir up…especially since Lady Gaga has been such a huge part of my life and healing process.
The words to “Til It Happens to You” really hit me after our conversation. I can only imagine that it must be very hard to write a song about sexual violence, especially if you have gone through it. It’s important to note that both Lady Gaga and Diane Warren (cowriter) are survivors of sexual violence. I know that it has been very difficult to talk about what happened to me until I realized that it helped me heal.
It is a very simple song with simple lyrics, but it really brings truth to the matter.
“You tell me it gets better in time.” It does get better…….but it will always be a part of me. I am definitely out of the dark days of my healing, but I am still healing every day. Healing from rape has become a part of who I am. So you can sit there and tell me it gets better but you really won’t understand.
“Tell me how the hell could you talk, how could you talk?” This goes two ways for me. I think the lyrics actually are meant to be directed to the person that is telling the survivor that it gets better in time. I took it as an individual in my life who wanted me to be silent and wanted me to not share my story. But how could I not if it made me feel better?
There have been days in the past 11 years that I have battled with myself and thought that my rape was my fault. I can particularly remember one day, while driving 15 minutes to work, crying the whole way and thinking: Why would he do this to me? I knew him, he was an acquaintance that I worked with for two summers. Then I thought I put myself in a dangerous situation. Which I did. But I remind myself that it is NOT my fault. IT was NEVER my fault. A crime was committed against me.
“Till your world burns and crashes, Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope. Till you’re standing in my shoes, I don’t want to hear a thing from you.” It’s scary to think of some of the dark places I was in, in during my healing process…sometimes I don’t want to think back to them. However, those days along with my support system, pushed me forward.
What really kills me to the core is to know that there are so many others in world that have gone through some form of sexual violence and or abuse. The pain and suffering that so many others had/have overcome or still are working through. The countless others that lost their lives to sexual violence is horrific and you wouldn’t know how it feels until it happens to you.
So I suggest you all take at least a few minutes to listen to this song because it truly is powerful.
I hope I can make it through the Oscars.