Since the earliest days of her career, Lady Gaga has never been one to hide from controversy. But now, instead of meat suits and underwear, the eyebrow-raising artist is stripping down her message to raise awareness for a cause: Campus rape.
Gaga’s new video for “Til It Happens to You” is directed by “Twilight” filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke and features a minimalist, black-and-white style far from the “Bad Romance” singer’s usual flare. Reuniting Hardwicke with longtime muse Nikki Reed (“Thirteen”), the video powerfully depicts various college-age girls having what starts out as good times — until things go horribly wrong.
Reed, in her dorm room, is attacked by a friend; another storyline seems inspired by “Boys Don’t Cry.” In a third scenario, we see a man at a party dropping some sort of date-rape drug into girls’ drinks, then climbing onto their passed-out bodies.
The aftermath for each woman is painful, as evidenced by the one who writes “I am worthless” on her arm and another who has “Sometimes I hate myself” on her back. The visuals are as powerful as Gaga’s words:
“Till your world burns and crashes/ Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope
Till you’re standing in my shoes/I don’t wanna hear a thing from you
Cause you don’t know”
The video ends with an uplifting bent, as each woman seeks help and support from friends and begins to tell her story. It ends with the women finally emerging from the shadows of their dorm rooms, while Gaga sings their song.
“One in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes,” reads a title card at the end. The video then gives the number for the National Sexual Assault Hotlline. Lady Gaga will be donating a portion of all proceeds from the song to charitable organizations that help sexual assault survivors.