Examples of Sexual Abuse in Pop Culture

Til It Happens To You – Lady GaGa

“His mouth is on my face. I twist my head. His lips are wet, his teeth knock against my cheekbone.” Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


The song Til It Happens to You by Lady GaGa is a plea from sexual assault victims trying to get the rest of the world to understand what the traumatic experience of an assault is actually like. The music video for this song is very powerful, showing images of sexual assault and sequences of events following sexual assaults to accurately capture the feelings of victims. Scenes in the music video show how violent sexual assaults can be, more than just acts committed in a drug or alcohol induced haze or blackout. As Melinda describes in Speak sexual assaults can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone, and they can be violent outside of the obvious intercourse act.


CNN Interview with Princeton Mom Susan Patton

“I never raped anybody. I don’t have to. You wanted it just as bad as I did. But your feelings got hurt, so you started spreading lies and now every girl in school is talking about me like I’m some kind of pervert.” Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.


This CNN Interview with Susan Patton, hosted by Carol Costello, was conducted following the release of Lena Dunam’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl in which she discussed a drunken college sexual assault and date rape. The interview discusses topics such as what situations constitute rape, what is victim blaming and is it ever acceptable, and perceived guilt of the accused rapists. This interview does touch on a similar situation that Andy in Speak brings up: consent. Rape culture is a hot button topic in teen and young adult peer social worlds, especially on college campuses. In the mainstream media, rape cases can turn into a he said/she said debate where boys like Andy say a girl was “asking for it,” and girls like Melinda claim their stories are true. Debates like the one above spark controversy about topics like victim blaming, and the validity of rape cases involving intoxication or compromised mental state.

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