In a powerful introduction to an even more moving song from Lady Gaga, Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the Oscars Feb. 28 in a plea to “change the culture” and ensure that “no abused woman or man…ever feels they have to ask themselves, ‘What did I do?’”
When Biden appeared onstage, the entire auditorium stood to applaud, but he motioned for the audience to sit and told them, “I’m the least qualified man here tonight.”
In a heartfelt appeal to end rape culture, he then urged his audience to visit itsonus.org, the White House's initiative to end sexual violence, and take the pledge to intervene before sexual assault takes place.
Biden then turned to introduce “my friend and a courageous lady ... Lady Gaga” to perform “Till It Happens to You” a song she co-wrote for the documentary The Hunting Ground about sexual assault on college campuses.
Lady Gaga, herself a sexual assault survivor, was accompanied onstage by a large group of survivors, who, at the song's conclusion, joined hands and raised them up in a sign of unity and strength.
Lady Gaga’s performance was — appropriately for the subject matter — passionate, and even enraged. It was also timely. Revelations of sexual assault on college campuses and insufficient action from administrations have poured out over the past few years, with Baylor University being one of the most recent schools to grapple with the issue. The Oscars also featured multiple films dealing with the theme of sexual assault, including Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Best Picture-winner Spotlight.
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To see Sojourners’ 7 ways to end violence against women, click here.