It was during her stirring performance of her Academy Award-nominated song, “Till It Happens to You” that Lady Gaga’s extended family learned that she had been a victim of rape.
Gaga posted on her Instagram on Tuesday, sharing the story of how her grandmother and aunt reached out to her once they realized Gaga had been sexually assaulted at age 19.
My grandmother (in the middle) and my Aunt Sheri (on the right) both called me the day after the Oscars because I never told them I was a survivor. I was too ashamed. Too afraid. And it took me a long time to even admit it to myself because I’m Catholic and I knew it was evil but I thought it was my fault. I thought it was my fault for ten years. The morning after the Oscars when I talked to my grandmother Ronnie, with tears in her eyes I could hear them welling through the phone she said to me “My darling granddaughter, I’ve never been more proud of you than I am today.” Something I have kept a secret for so long that I was more ashamed of than anything– became the thing the women in my life were the most proud of. And not just any women, the ones I look up to the most. #BeBrave #speakup #tilithappenstoyou
The singer penned the ballad with Diane Warren for the documentary, The Hunting Ground, examining the phenomenon of sexual assault at colleges in the U.S.
The pop star expressed her hope that sharing her story as a survivor would encourage others to speak out about their own experiences without feeling stigmatized.