In a recent interview, Lady Gaga opened up about the sexual violence she was subjected to at the age of 19 by a producer.
Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s “The Me You Can’t See” debuted with Lady Gaga being the first guest on the talk show. She bared out her soul and shared the extremely private, gut-wrenching atrocity done to her by an inhumane producer.
“I was 19 years old, and I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off,’ and I said no. And I left, and they told me they were going to burn all of my music. And they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop asking me, and I just froze and I just — I don’t even remember,” revealed Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, through tears streaming down her face.
But it was not just her crying. We felt the pain, the suffering, the humiliation, and the struggle she has had all these years because of one thing done to her, against her will, by someone not less than a wild animal, probably worse off.
Saying It Out Loud
The first episode, titled “Say It Out Loud,” subjected us to a rollercoaster of emotions and inner turmoil over the sexual violence our idol went through.
Lady Gaga opened up about how she got pregnant by her rapist. She went on to acknowledge that the entire situation shaped her into a new person and how she had PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome).
She further commented that “First I felt full-on pain, then I went numb, and then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after, and I realized that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner at my parents’ house because I was vomiting and sick. Because I’d been being abused, I was locked away in a studio for months.”
Oprah posted about Lady Gaga’s ordeal later on her Instagram:
“The Me You Can See: @ladygaga winning an Oscar in 2019.
The Me You Can’t See: Stefani Germanotta.
While getting her start in the music industry at 19, Stefani was told by a producer to take off her clothes and threatened to have her music burned when she didn’t comply.
She was raped. Through the years, this trauma remained unprocessed, resulting in Stefani cutting herself, experiencing a psychotic break, and finally being diagnosed with PTSD after going to the hospital for chronic pain.
She’s learned to pull herself out of dark places with the help of doctors, medicine, and coping mechanisms—and happened to win an Oscar during that process.
Now, instead of locking away that experience, she’s trying to give back by sharing it. Thank you, Stefani. I see you.”
How Can We Help The Survivors?
There were several triggering points for me while watching Stefani open up in front of the whole wide world. But what stood out was her comment that “Even if I have six brilliant months, all it takes is getting triggered once to feel bad. And when I say feel bad, I mean want to cut, think about dying, wondering if I’m ever gonna do it.”
Now I understand that her remark may be seen as one made in the heat of the moment, but the truth remains. We cannot simply overlook the severity of the situation. Nor can we pass it on as a traumatic phase.
Many survivors of sexual violence remain traumatized for years on end, if not for the entire lifetime.
It may not be possible to take away their pain or stop the consistent suffering they endure day in and day out. But even if we can soothe the hurt of our loved ones, that’d be enough. To make them feel loved, supported, and understood is the ultimate goal.
And so, I have compiled some of the measures and steps we all need to incorporate in our lives to comfort our loved ones who are survivors of this inhumane atrocity, sexual violence.
The period following the abuse is crucial, sensitive, and extremely vulnerable for the person. So, first things first, you need to ensure that the person is kept in a safe and secured place.
Support them in whatever way so that they feel protected and contact your local rape crisis center. Be there for the person emotionally at all times.
Get them medically tested for any injury that might go unattended if physical signs are to be trusted. They will ensure the person is free of STDs and the possibility of contraception.
Evidence also can be collected within 5 days of sexual violence because of the medical examination.
Report The Abuse
It is upon the victim as to when they feel comfortable in talking to the authorities about the abuse. Although hospitals have a protocol to contact the local police in case of violence and report the same.
The perpetrator will be charged with a criminal offense and the person subjected to the abuse will be brought to justice. Now personally, the term “justice” seems unjust since no amount of actions, however severe, will bring the victim to justice but yes, the authorities and law will take their course and help to the maximum extent.
Counseling Is Must
Survivors of such heinous abuse oftentimes become victims of PTSD and RTS. They need help to deal with the turmoil and suffering, and opening up, however hard, is the only way to go.
You need to make sure that they do not bottle up their emotions and hurt because it may prove to be fatal. The times when counseling was taboo are long gone. We are the woke generation and are ever ready to support and help each other.
Sexual violence not only impacts the survivor but also their entire circle of friends and family. Walking on eggshells is not the way to go. We have to be very careful of what and how we treat and support the survivors for sustained and safe healing.
Steps To Help
First and foremost, effective and genuine communication is the key to healing.
You need to be calm for the person to feel calm and not go into a full-blown breakdown every time the subject arises. Do not, for even a moment, question the authenticity of the traumatizing things the person confides in you about.
Believe them! Lack of physical injuries does not imply the person gave consent or the atrocity did not occur. No matter however close you are to the perpetrator, believe the victim at once.
Make the person feel they are in control. It might take some time but they’ll come to trust you. The assault took away their confidence, control, and made them vulnerable. Understand them and give them the much-needed time and space.
Listen. Do not go on listing solutions. You need to be present and actively listening. Let the person open up when they feel comfortable. Do not pressurize them. Let them breathe.
Assure the person that your love and feelings for them have not been impacted in the slightest after what has happened. They need to be assured of consistent support and love.
Maintain confidentiality. The person might feel inclined to not confide in you if you go around sharing their intimate details with any and every person that asks.
Counseling, as I said before, is the key to healing. Encourage the person to go for sessions. You may even assist them if they feel better with you around.
Can Sexual Violence Be Prevented?
Since each and every member of the community gets affected by the crime, each and every member becomes part of the solution as well.
Proper measures and values must be inculcated and implemented within the members for a safer, better world.
Healthy and positive relationships are to be brought into daily lives. Respect, safety, and equity need to be made the pillars of a functional society.
We need to become engaged bystanders instead of the opposite. Lastly, even if a doubt arises about the misconduct or the possibility of harassment shows up, speaking up and calling out the perpetrator should be made the norm.
Image Source: Google Images
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