Director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Oscar nominee and Grammy Award winning songwriter Diane Warren, and six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga have teamed up to release ‘Til It Happens To You, a campus sexual assault public service announcement tied to the critically acclaimed documentary The Hunting Ground, a film about rape on college campuses in the United States.
The video, which stars actress Nikki Reed from Twilight, shows four graphic depictions of sexual assault on campus, and the resulting traumatic impact the attacks have on each of the students.
“After watching The Hunting Ground, I was inspired by the survivors who had the courage to tell their stories,” said Diane Warren. “This song, with its message of hope and empowerment, is my heartfelt tribute to them.”
Lady Gaga, a sexual assault survivor, has been a vocal advocate on the issue. Earlier this year she wrote an op-ed with Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY), calling for the passage of New York State’s “Enough is Enough” bill, which was signed into law in July.
While the video is focused on sexual assault, Diane hopes the lyrics will also resonate with anyone who has been “bullied, lost a loved one or just feels alone in the world.”
The end of the video shows the survivors beginning to heal as they start to open up and share their experience with friends. In a statement about the video’s potential impact Catherine says, “I hope that this PSA, with its raw and truthful portrayals, will send a clear message that we need to support these courageous survivors and end this epidemic plaguing our college campuses.”
A portion of proceeds from the sale of the song will be donated to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault.
If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of sexual assault, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for links and support. Also check out this great piece from Everyday Feminism on “How to Help a Friend who has been Sexually Assaulted.”
The Hunting Ground, from Oscar® nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering was distributed by RADiUS, the boutique label of the Weinstein Company. After premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the film was released theatrically and has subsequently screened on hundreds of college campuses across the country. The New York Times calls it “a must-watch work of cine-activism, one that should be seen by anyone headed to college and by those already on campus.”