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Lady Gaga has opened up about the sexual assault she survived as a teen and has worked incredibly hard to overcome as an adult.

During a recent chat with Howard Stern, Gaga was being a bit ominous while talking about her controversial performance of “Swine” at SXSW, where someone threw up on her. According to her it was all about finding empowerment on the other side of rape and demoralization.

Rape is a lightning rod issue, so Howard zeroed in on that when she brought it up, asking, “were you raped by a producer?” At first, Gaga tried to deflect as she insisted on only talking about happier times in her life, but she eventually came clean.

“I went through some horrific things that I’m able to laugh (at) now,” Gaga began. “I’ve gone through a lot of mental and physical therapy and emotional therapy to heal over the years.”

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It wasn’t always that way. In the immediate days following her traumatic experience, hinted that she withdrew from the world so much that she barely recognized herself. “I was a shell of my former self at one point. I was not myself,” she shared. ” To be fair, I was about 19. I went to Catholic school and then all this crazy stuff happened, and I was going, ‘Oh, is this just the way adults are?’… I was very naïve.”

She added, “I was so traumatized by it that I was like, ‘Just keep going.’ Because I just had to get out of there.”

The full impact of what happened didn’t hit her until about five years later. Part of what allowed Gaga to was simply blocking it out of her mind because she “wasn’t even willing to admit that anything had happened.”

Gaga struggled for years over whether or not to share any of this because she didn’t want her fans–and the public at large–to associate her artistic expression with the horrible experience she suffered. She didn’t want to give her rapist any credit in relation to who she has become.

“I’ll be damned if somebody’s gonna say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one d–khead who did that to me,” Gaga said. “I’m going to take responsibility for all my pain looking beautiful. All the things that I’ve made out of my strife, I did that.”


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