This One Lady Gaga Quote on How to Dismantle Rape Culture Is More Important Than Ever

This One Lady Gaga Quote on How to Dismantle Rape Culture Is More Important Than Ever
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

No celebrity has taken a firmer a stand against the normalcy of rape in the past few years than Lady Gaga. The jazz-conscious pop star used her platform again and again to highlight the painful reality of sexual assault, inviting survivors to stand beside her onstage at the Oscars, supporting other celebrities who have come forward with rape allegations and collaborating with politicians seeking reform for sexual assault legislation, both at the state and national level.

On that last note: Gaga also been careful to note that the country's laws are not the only thing that needs changing. The culture needs to change as well, as so many of the stories surrounding recent Stanford rape case have made clear.

Read more: Stanford Swimmer Assaults Woman, Gets Short Jail Sentence Because Jail Might Be Hard For Him

Dismantling rape culture will not come from any legislature, as Gaga made clear during a December panel discussing her Oscar-nominated song about sexual assault survivors, "'Til It Happens to You." Instead, that change will come from the collective decisions of everyday individuals. As she put it, "You are culture."

"Not to take anything away from our politicians who are looking out for our country ... some of them," Lady Gaga said. "I really hope that anyone watching this today hears that the most important people to change the world is you. I'm not looking to the government to change my life; I'm not looking toward the next president; I'm not looking toward our next world leaders. I'm looking at everyone in this room. I mean, you are culture."

The steps she recommends people may seem easy: If you witness rape, "Say something." 

"So if you care, and if your friend is going to rape someone in your fraternity or sorority, or in your school, or in a work situation, or in an alleyway outside a restaurant — whatever it is that your job is," Gaga continued, "if you say something and if you are a part of that greater world change, that is more powerful than any single person that's in office."

Source: Giphy

The truth of this has played out in the Stanford rape case. Two bystanders changed the outcome of this story for the victim to an immeasurable extent. They saw the rape occurring, intervened and held Brock Turner down until the police could arrive to arrest him.

"I can't understate how important those two heroes were in this case," Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci told the Huffington Post on Monday. "Those two heroes made this case a prosecutable one." 

Among other charges, Turner was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape.

Unfortunately according to the AAU Campus Climate Report, only 33% of rape witnesses actually act. When they do, they change the entire game. People have the power, as Gaga asserted so powerfully last December. As long as people understand that, rape culture is not safe.

June 8, 2016, 6:54 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Know who’s really winning ‘Game of Thrones’ this season? The show’s editing team

Props to Crispin Green and Tim Porter for episodes one and two, respectively. Y'all are some gross monsters.

TJ Miller’s explanation of the “feminist agenda” in ‘The Emoji Movie’ proves the bar is too low

How feminist can a movie with no female writers really be?

On Lana Del Rey’s lust for social consciousness

For her latest studio full-length, LDR proves there's more to her than the flower-crown aesthetic.

‘Game of Thrones’ Theories: Arya and Nymeria finally reunited, but what does it mean?

So, is Arya actually heading back to Winterfell?

‘Game of Thrones’: So Samwell Tarly is basically George R.R. Martin, right?

Finally, Jon Snow's sidekick has a greater purpose.

‘Game of Thrones’: Everyone's true nature is exposed in "Stormborn"

WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, THEON!

Know who’s really winning ‘Game of Thrones’ this season? The show’s editing team

Props to Crispin Green and Tim Porter for episodes one and two, respectively. Y'all are some gross monsters.

TJ Miller’s explanation of the “feminist agenda” in ‘The Emoji Movie’ proves the bar is too low

How feminist can a movie with no female writers really be?

On Lana Del Rey’s lust for social consciousness

For her latest studio full-length, LDR proves there's more to her than the flower-crown aesthetic.

‘Game of Thrones’ Theories: Arya and Nymeria finally reunited, but what does it mean?

So, is Arya actually heading back to Winterfell?

‘Game of Thrones’: So Samwell Tarly is basically George R.R. Martin, right?

Finally, Jon Snow's sidekick has a greater purpose.

‘Game of Thrones’: Everyone's true nature is exposed in "Stormborn"

WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, THEON!