Lady Gaga has been outspoken about her experience as a sexual assault survivor in the months leading up to the Oscars, where she performed “Til It Happens To You,” the moving track she wrote with Diane Warren for the documentary The Hunting Ground. But in an Instagram post shared after the ceremony, Gaga revealed some of her family members weren’t aware of her experience until they saw the show.
“My grandmother (in the middle) and my Aunt Sheri (on the right) both called me the day after the Oscars because I never told them I was a survivor,” she captioned a photo of her three relatives. “I was too ashamed. Too afraid. And it took me a long time to even admit it to myself because I’m Catholic and I knew it was evil but I thought it was my fault. I thought it was my fault for 10 years. “
The song and the documentary focus on rape and sexual assault on college campuses, and on Sunday Gaga was joined by 50 survivors of sexual assault – some of whom appeared in The Hunting Ground. They bore messages like “Not Your Fault” on their arm as they stood on stage next to Gaga.
“The morning after the Oscars when I talked to my grandmother Ronnie, with tears in her eyes I could hear them welling through the phone she said to me ‘My darling granddaughter, I’ve never been more proud of you than I am today,’” Gaga continued. “Something I have kept a secret for so long that I was more ashamed of than anything– became the thing the women in my life were the most proud of. And not just any women, the ones I look up to the most. #BeBrave #speakup #tilithappenstoyou.”
Gaga’s performance has already inspired others to speak up about their own experiences with sexual assault. Jade Roper, a former contestant on The Bachelor, wrote in a blog post on Monday, “I’ve only shared my story with but a few, not even my family knows. But when I saw GaGa fill the whole room with emotion as she sang with conviction and urgency, as I saw survivors of sexual assault bravely stand up there showing the world that what happened to them does matter, tears streamed down my face.” Jaime King also spoke out on social media. “Thank you @ladygaga – I finally felt a true healing from years of abuse as a minor in the industry. Time to be brave,” she tweeted.