The one upside to the large and sadly ever-growing number of women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape is that maybe, now that the conversation has been made public, more people can come forward with their own stories of sexual assault, and, just as importantly, have their stories believed.
One of those people is pop singer Lady Gaga, who revealed in an interview with Howard Stern yesterday that her song “Swine” was written about being raped by a record producer when she was 19 years old and “very naïve.” Apparently, her 2014 SXSW performance, best remembered for artist Mille Brown vomiting green paint, was an attempt to exorcise the lingering effects of the assault. “I want this chick to throw up on me in front of the world, so that I can tell them, ‘You know what? You could never, ever degrade me as much as I degrade myself, and look how beautiful it is when I do’,” she said.
She went on to say that she told no one about the attack at the time—“I was so traumatized by it that I just had to keep going and get out of there,” she said—and that she tried to bury her trauma by relentlessly pursuing her music career. It was only after realizing that her self-destructive behavior (she specifically mentions alcohol in the interview) was related to the assault that she sought mental, emotional and physical therapy, which is why she can talk about it now.
Regardless, she still appeared reluctant to discuss details, saying she would rather talk about “happy times.” She said she has never confronted her attacker because “It would paralyze me. I saw him one time in a store and I was paralyzed by fear.” She also refused to name him in the interview, although she did say that he was 20 years older than her.
“I don’t want to be defined by it,” she said. “I’ll be damned if somebody’s going to say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me. I’m going to take responsibility for all my pain looking beautiful and all the things I’ve made out of my strife. I did that.”
Immediately after the interview, a lawyer for Kesha, who is currently embroiled in a sexual assault lawsuit against producer Dr. Luke, attempted to allege that the man Gaga discussed in her interview was actually Dr. Luke. Both Dr. Luke and Lady Gaga vigorously deny the connection, with a representative for Gaga saying, “This simply isn’t true and how dare someone take advantage of such a sensitive matter.”