Sep 21

Sexual Assault and Its Aftermath: This Is How It Feels

Lady Gaga‘s song “Til It Happens to You” and slam poet Akeemjamal Rollins‘s “In Response” highlight, in combo, the effects of sexual assault on both sexes.

I. “Til It Happens to You”

Previously I wrote a post about The Hunting Ground (2015), a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. Recorded for the film was Lady Gaga‘s “Til It Happens to You,” which at the end of last week was released with a new video, aptly described as “powerful, disturbing, and emotional” (Entertainment Weekly).

The theme: “Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.”

Written/directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the video’s cast includes actresses Nikki Reed and Kiersey Clemons. The victims portrayed are female and a trans male.

Buy the song and you’ll be contributing to organizations that help survivors of sexual assault. Watch and hear below, and then continue on down for the words only:

You tell me “it gets better, it gets better,
in time”
You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together,
“You’ll be fine”
Tell me what the hell do you know,
What do you know,
Tell me how the hell could you know,
How! could you know

Till it happens to you, you don’t know
How it feels,
How it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real
No It won’t be real
Won’t know how it feels

You tell me “hold your head up”
Hold your head up and be strong
Cause when you fall, you gotta get up
You gotta get up and move on.”

Tell me, how the hell can you talk,
How can you talk?
Cause until you walk where I walk,
It’s just no joke!

Till it happens to you, you don’t know
How it feels,
How it feels.
Till it happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real (how could you know?)
No It won’t be real (how could you know?)
Won’t know how I feel

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 wanna hear a thing or two
From you, from you, cause you don’t know

Till it happens to you, you don’t know
How I feel
How I feel
How I feel
Till it happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real (how could you know?)
No It won’t be real (how could you know?)
Won’t know how It feels

Till it happens to you, happens to you,
Happens to you.
Happens to you, happens to you,
Happens to you ( how could you know?)

Till it happens to you, you won’t know how I feel

II. “In Response”

Slam poet Akeemjamal Rollins has equally moving and important words to say about males who are victimized. Thanks to Alanna Vagianos, The Huffington Post, for recently providing his “In Response” video, as in “In response to women who say men can’t write about rape.”

“You are wrong.”

As Vagianos notes, “Traditional masculinity tells men they need to be aggressive and sex-obsessed in relationships and in life. Rollins explains that this often leads to the myth that men can’t be raped. But 1 in 6 men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetimes.”

Its presentation by Rollins, seen below, was filmed during a recent poetry slam competition: