Lady Gaga didn’t just bring 50 survivors of sexual violence onstage at the Oscars to make a point. She asked them to join her because she’s a survivor, too.
The singer posted a wrenching message on Instagram explaining how difficult it was for her to perform “Til it Happens to You,” her Oscar-nominated song for the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground.
"The first day of rehearsal with all the survivors I could barely get myself together,” she wrote. "My body was wrecked with inflammation and pain, crying and shaking the whole walk to the stage. The whole night before I did not sleep. The fear of knowing I would finally face that I belonged in that group. I told them I was so sorry I couldn't be Lady Gaga for them."
But the 50 men and women didn’t need her to be Lady Gaga. "They all hugged me and told me that it was okay because it was more real this way, that they understood that they were in pain too. They told me they were there for me to support me because they believed this message needed to be heard. Without them I never could have felt strong. They accepted me for me, at my lowest and that was good enough for them, so somehow through the magic of their courage they made it good enough for me too."
Yesterday (February 29), Gaga posted a photo of herself with all 50 survivors with the caption “51, surviving and thriving."
Relive her brave Oscars performance below.