Lady Gaga talks about her experience of sexual abuse and the psychological impact of trauma

Content warning: the following article contains detailed discussion of sexual violence and self-harm. 

Lady Gaga has opened up about being raped by a record producer when she was 19 years old and the psychological impact of that trauma. 

In an interview for the first episode of AppleTV+’s The Me You Can’t See featuring Oprah and Prince Harry, the singer described the extensive abuse which took place at the start of her music career. 

“I was 19 years old, 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 my music,” she began. 

Lady Gaga said that she does not feel comfortable disclosing the identity of her rapist. “I will not say his name, I understand this #metoo movement, I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this and I do not… I do not ever want to face that person again,” she said. 

She detailed being admitted to hospital as a result of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, which she later learned was triggered by PTSD.

“I realised it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner, my parents’ house, because I was vomiting and sick because I had been abused, I was locked away in a studio for months,” she said. 

Lady Gaga said that she had a “total psychotic break” and that she was not the same person for a couple of years. 

Speaking about the impact of trauma on herself, she said: “Your body remembers.” 

“I couldn’t feel anything, I disassociated,” she added. “It’s like your brain goes offline, and you don’t know why no one else is panicking.” 

If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org.

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