Lady Gaga Inspired Former Bachelor Contestant To Tell Her Rape Story

Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images.
Former Bachelor contestant Jade Roper was inspired by Lady Gaga to write an extremely moving personal essay. At the Oscars on Sunday night, Gaga gave a powerful performance of "Till It Happens to You," an anthem for survivors of sexual assault that the pop star wrote for campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground. Jade Roper — who was sent home by Bachelor Chris Soules, and then found her now-husband Tanner Tolbert on Bachelor in Paradise — was moved to tears by the performance.
"[W]hen I saw GaGa [sic] fill the whole room with emotion as she sang with conviction and urgency, as I saw survivors of sexual assault bravely stand up there showing the world that what happened to them does matter, tears streamed down my face," Roper writes. The 29-year-old felt compelled to open up about something she's long kept a secret from almost everyone, including her family. "I was raped just shy of my 17th birthday," she says. "I remember one guy holding me down while another got on top of me... The next morning was confusing. I found my jeans with blood spots all the way down a pant leg, and I was bruised black and sore." Roper explains she was a virgin when she was attacked by two friends, one whom she was very close to.
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Roper writes that she didn't tell her parents about it because she was afraid of what they would think of her, "or worse, that they wouldn’t care at all." Internalizing the trauma led Roper to do what many survivors of sexual assault do: She blamed herself. "I convinced myself I must have deserved it. That this bad thing happened to me because of something I had done. That I wasn’t worth being loved. That I wasn’t worth having sex for the first time with someone who cared about me. All the hurt and the anger I had towards the boys that assaulted me, I took out on myself."
Now, Roper is grateful to Gaga for empowering her to step forward — and hopes, in turn, that her confession will encourage other survivors to do the same. "If one of the causes behind this song was to give girls and women the courage to have a voice, they’ve succeeded. Sharing my story sheds a little more light in a very dark part inside of me," she says. "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. I hope that sharing my experience will help girls and women know that they are not alone."
Roper shared a link to her story on Instagram and Twitter, and Gaga tweeted back, calling Roper a "warrior." Gaga, Roper, and every survivor of sexual assault are warriors in our book.

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