By far, the most amazing performance at Sunday night’s awards ceremony was Lady Gaga’s ‘Til It Happens to You, her Oscar nominated Best Original Song from The Hunting Ground (co-written with Diane Warren). It was a complete showstopper, and kudos to the camera people who honed in on Gaga’s intensity; it was locking eyes with the singer as she poured her heart and soul into those moments that — out of nowhere — reduced me to a snot-dripping, quivering puddle. I felt my reaction echoed across social media, and for anyone who’s experienced any kind of attack, the emotional and physical response was involuntary. During the performance, a group of sexual assault survivors gathered on stage, and as the song concluded, they joined raised hands. I wasn’t the only one uncontrollably sobbing by a long shot; the celebrity-filled audience was “speechless — You could hear a pin drop. It was the only song that got a standing ovation.”
If you somehow managed to get through that without being reduced to a puddle, hearing about what we didn’t see that night just might send you over the edge. Because, as those real assault survivors walked offstage, Brie Larson walked over and hugged every single one of them.
At the end of the ceremony, those same survivors — who’d been asked by Vice President Joe Biden to remain after the awards — also met and spoke to each person individually. Not only that but as related by one of the participants, student Kirat Sandhu, Biden called their families and friends and spoke with them as well.
“He made personal phone calls to people’s parents, called people’s friends. When he got to me, we talked about why he’s involved with this fight and he said he wants to combat when power is in the wrong hands.”
It is beyond heartening to finally see widespread recognition that our victim-blaming culture has to change, and for the Vice President to be involved at this level is as moving as Lady Gaga’s incredible performance.
“Too many men and women around the country are still victims of sexual abuse. We can and will change the culture,” he said, “so no abused women or man will think they did anything wrong.” (Joe Biden)