The past month has been incredibly difficult for survivors across the world who've been following along as hundreds of women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault against men like Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Bill O'Reilly, and former president George H.W. Bush.
Though the conversations surrounding the allegations are difficult, the discussion has inspired countless others to share their own horrific encounters. Some have participated in the #MeToo movement, some have decided to disclose their experiences with close friends or family members, and some have made the perfectly acceptable choice not to say anything. After all, survivors don't owe anyone their stories.
But no one story can end rape culture on its own. In a moving video posted on Wednesday, Lady Gaga and former Vice President Joe Biden shared a powerful message on behalf of the 2014 White House initiative It's On Us encouraging everyone, survivor or not, to come together to stop sexual violence.
"We want to make it real clear that it's on us, it's on everyone, to intervene and stop abuse when they see it and when they hear about it," Biden said.
Gaga, who has been vocal about her own experience with sexual assault, added that she knows "the effects, the aftermath, the trauma: psychological, physical, mental."
"It can be terrifying waking up every day feeling unsafe in your own body," she said. "We're here to remind you that it's important to reach out to someone in your life that you can trust and to know that they will be there to help you. There will be someone to listen, 'cause you know what? It's on us."
Gaga and Biden also brought awareness to It's On Us at the 2016 Oscars, where Mother Monster welcomed survivors onstage during her performance of "'Til It Happens To You." Biden introduced the performance with a plea to the audience to "change the culture."
We have a long way to go, but together, we can make our communities safer for everyone.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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