Lady Gaga Releases a New Song for Documentary on Campus Rape Culture

After a demo leaked a few months ago, the studio version of Lady Gaga’s newest song, “Till it Happens to You,” has finally been released. Co-written by Gaga and renowned songwriter Diane Warren, the song is inspired by the singer’s struggle with the aftermath of being sexually assaulted by a record producer when she was nineteen years old. She revealed the traumatic experience in an interview with Howard Stern late last year, in which she said, “I don't want to be defined by it. I'll be damned if somebody's gonna say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one [expletive] that did that to me.”

The haunting ballad is featured in the The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape culture and sexual assault on college campuses. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to great critical acclaim, and has even generated some Oscar buzz. Gaga’s song is also set to become the focus of a PSA video about campus sexual assault directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Nikki Reed.

This certainly isn’t the first time the megastar has used her talent and influence to promote important social issues—she’s also advocated and raised money for causes like HIV/AIDS prevention, LGBTQ+ rights and bullying prevention. With one of the world’s most popular and influential people now taking a stand, the rampant issue of sexual assault and harassment on campus will become even harder to ignore.