Lady Gaga's Oscar performance inspired a former "Bachelor" contestant to open up about a sexual assault incident that happened when she was a teenager.
Lady Gaga performed a rendition of her song "Til It Happens to You," which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song. The song addresses the pain and trauma that sexual assault survivors endure, and includes lyrics like "Til' you're standing in my shoes, I don't wanna hear a thing from you," and "Til it happens to you, you don't know how I feel."
Near the end of the song, the curtain was lifted and 50 sexual assault survivors joined Lady Gaga at the front of the stage. The performance received a standing ovation and was a highlight of the night.
Tolbert posted a photo from the performance on Instagram, and stated that Lady Gaga had inspired her to write something that she'd been "terrified" to publicly discuss before.
"Yet, this is something I felt was put on my heart to write and to share and after all these years allow myself to be free of something I felt I had to hide," Tolbert wrote. "Lady GaGa's performance was powerful and really moved me...Hopefully sharing my story can help others as much as it is helping me heal."
I've been trying for hours to think of what to say here, typing and back spacing. To be honest, I'm terrified. Yet, this is something I felt was put on my heart to write and to share and after all these years allow myself to be free of something I felt I had to hide. Lady GaGa's performance was powerful and really moved me. I share my feelings and my story in the link I put in my bio. Hopefully sharing my story can help others as much as it is helping me heal. Much love. ??
In her essay, titled "Why Lady GaGa’s Performance Was the Most Important Part of the Oscars," Tolbert revealed that she had been a victim of sexual assault when she was a teenager in high school, and had bottled up the traumatic experience for years because of shame and fear about what people would think.
"I convinced myself I must have deserved it," Tolbert wrote. "That this bad thing happened to me because of something I had done. That I wasn’t worth being loved."
"The Lady GaGa performance gave me the courage to speak about my story, a story that’s been trapped inside me for over 12 years," she continued. "I hope that sharing my experience will help girls and women know that they are not alone. And that you have to voice things in order for things to change. And always always always: You matter."
After posting her blog post, Lady Gaga responded to Tolbert on Twitter, calling her a "warrior."
.@ladygaga thank you. And thank you for inspiring me to take a big step in my healing by giving me courage to share my story. Much love.— Jade Tolbert (@jadelizroper) February 29, 2016