A year after revealing she was raped as a teen, Lady Gaga opened up about the effects the horrifying incident had on her.
During a TimesTalks session in New York City Thursday for the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground, the Golden Globe-nominated actress said, "I didn't tell anyone for, I think, seven years."
"I didn't know how to think about it," she continued. "I didn't know how to accept it. I didn't know how not to blame myself, or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed my thoughts."
And she discussed how those changes lasted for years to come. "When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn't just have the immediate physical ramifications on you," she said. "For many people it is almost like trauma. When you re-experience it throughout the years after it, it can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress, so a lot of people suffer from not only mental and emotional pain, but also physical pain of being abused, raped, or traumatized in some type of way."
As she entered the music industry, and dealt with everything that comes with that, Gaga even started blaming herself for the rape. "Because of the way that I dress, and the way that I'm provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way," she said. "That it was my fault."
Since then, the American Horror Story star has learned not to blame herself and wants to inspire others to do the same. "I'm here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them," she said.
"We don't want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It's like, just get rid of all that trash. Let's get rid of it together."