Lady Gaga's newest music video raises sexual assault awareness

Lady Gaga recently released a PSA in the form of a music video entitled “Till It Happens to You,” which highlighted the issue of rape on college campuses. It is much different from many of Lady Gaga's music videos, not only because of its serious topic but also because Lady Gaga makes no appearance in her own video. However, her lyrics echo a powerful message throughout the video: "Until it happens to you, you won't know how I feel."

Catherine Hardwicke, the director behind "Twilight" (2008) and "Thirteen" (2003), also took the helm of this project. The entire music video is almost like a documentary, shot entirely in black and white. It served as the theme song of “The Hunting Ground” (2015), a documentary about rape on college campuses. There are three accounts of campus rape portrayed in the video. The first scene shows a girl who is raped by her own male friend in the privacy of her dorm room; the second is about a woman who appears to be queer who is attacked in a bathroom; and the third includes a man who drops roofies in two girls’ drinks at a party. All three show that sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Here are some things to keep in mind before going out to those tempting college parties:

Never leave your drink out of your sight.If you can, bring drinks in a closed container. If you must take those red cups at the party, don't set it down where you can't see it and keep it close to you. You never know who is going to be at the party; sometimes, not all of them are college students.

Bring close friends.If you are attending a party hosted by people you don't know, bring a few buddies with you to keep you in check and watch out for you. It might end up the other way around, but at least you won't be dancing with strangers.

Know where the exits are.Avoid staying in corners and tight spaces. Where is the fun in that anyway? Make sure you know where you entered from and where you can exit, in case you want to leave the party for whatever reason.

Know your limits.Don't drink to the point where you are not aware of who you are talking to and then end up following them to their vehicle. Have fun, but don't make yourself vulnerable.

Lady Gaga's video has a great message to spread, especially at the beginning of the school year. Younger students tend to be targetted more by assailants because they are perceived to be more vulnerable and have less exposure to the college environment. It's always a good idea to keep pepper spray in your bag or in your pocket where you can easily reach it. However, as seen in the first part of the video, sometimes an attacker can be someone who is already familiar with you.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you're with a friend (or multiple):

If you're inviting a friend over...Leave the door open at least a crack. If your friend wants to converse in private, sit closer to the door. Also, keep your cell phone near to you in case you need to make a warning text or call to someone else if something doesn't feel right.

If they try to make you stay with them longer against your will...Make an excuse like "I have an assignment due tomorrow morning and I haven't started yet," or "My mom is visiting me today. I need to leave now." If they really care about you, they will understand that you have better things to do than stay there and hang out with them. Make sure their intentions in your friendship are good before you sacrifice your own time and well-being for them.