This touching song moved not only Hollywoods finest, but people watching everywhere…

Sexual assault is a huge theme for this year’s Oscars. Three of the Oscar bets, Room, Spotlight and The Hunting Ground all revolve around themes of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Half way through the Academy Awards was a moving performance by none other than Lady Gaga. The singer walks into the stage, looking regal in a white pant suit. Sits on her piano and starts to perform ‘Til It Happens To You, a song she co-wrote with Dianne Warren for the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground.

Gaga was nominated for best original song but the prestigious honor was won by Sam Smith for Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre. While Lady Gaga didn’t win the award, some of the survivors feel that the performance alone was enough to get their message onto a really solid platform.

The Hunting Ground is a documentary film about victims of sexual assault in U.S. campuses and the retaliation and harassment they go through in the face of such a harrowing experience. Written and directed by Kirby Dick, the film reveals the red tape and bureaucracy sexual assault victims are required to navigate by the very schools that should protect them. By the very institutions that should condemn these acts and the perpetrators.

During Monday’s moving performance, Lady Gaga, also a sexual assault victim herself was flanked with about 50 sexual assault survivors while she belted out a heart-wrenching rendition of ‘Til It Happens to You. The victims, all incredibly diverse, stood with Gaga with messages like “It happened to me” and “We Believe You” written across their arms. The performance symbolizes the call to stand in solidarity with sexual assault victims, calling into question victim-shaming and the generally poor way in which we as a society tend to deal with the topic.

Kirat Sandhu, 21, was also one of the 50 who stood with Lady Gaga during the performance. In a story published in their website, Entertainment Weekly spoke to Kirat about the experience. Sandhu was a student at Indiana University-Purdue University when she was sexually assaulted. She is involved with It’s On Us and was contacted by the organization to join the performance. She said that during rehearsals, Lady Gaga spoke with them to tell them that they were not just bodies on stage but a support system to her during her performance. Right before they went on, Sandhu revealed that Lady Gaga spoke to them one last time telling them, “It’s our show.” The multi-awarded singer also said that she wanted the performance to be, “something where we healed.”

It was clear that the performance got not only the message, but the feeling across as hundreds of the world’s best actors and actresses watched in awe.


Brie Larson, winner of the 88th Academy Awards’ Best Actress Award also spoke with the survivors backstage before they came on. Also making the rounds on the internet is a video of her giving each and every one of those survivors a hug as they were coming off stage.