Lady Gaga revealed her support for Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who says Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago. And Gaga did so with an impassioned speech about her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault.
Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she took a break from talking about her new movie A Star Is Born to speak about the lasting impact of experiencing trauma, as well as the immense strength it took for Ford to share her experience "to protect this country."
"What I have seen on the news, with this debate of Kavanaugh versus Dr. Ford, it's one of the most upsetting things I have ever witnessed," she began.
Gaga was referencing Ford's testimony during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, in which she detailed her alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh. In her testimony, Ford said she is 100 percent sure her attacker was Kavanaugh. Yet the conservative judge firmly denies the accusations. The President himself has also mocked Ford's account.
Gaga said in her speech: "It's heartbreaking, but I will tell you something, because I am a sexual assault survivor, and the truth is—you know. Trump the other day was speaking at a rally and says, 'She has no memory of how she got to the party, should we trust that she remembers the assault?' And the answer is yes."
"I'll tell you exactly why—and I also know that this woman is smart, because she's a psychologist, she's no dummy—if someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there is science and scientific proof, it's biology, that people change, the brain changes, and, literally, what it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box, and it files it away and shuts it, so that we can survive the pain," Gaga continued.
"But what I believe that I have seen, is that, when this woman saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country," Gaga explained, "she was triggered, and that box opened, and when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world, to protect this country."
Experiencing a traumatic event—no matter how big or small—can cause serious physical and mental health effects.
Trauma comes in many forms and can absolutely affect your long-term mental health. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can include flashbacks and avoidance of places, objects, or events that remind you of the traumatic event, as well as an avoidance of the feelings and thoughts related to the event, the National Institute of Mental Health explains. People with PTSD may also be easily startled, feel "on edge," and experience mood changes.
Gaga, who has spoken openly about her own experience with PTSD following a sexual assault at age 19, has previously described her PTSD symptoms as reminiscent of "that feeling when you're on a roller coaster and you're just about to go down the really steep slope."
And even seemingly small reminders of the event—for instance, reading endless headlines about sexual assault—can trigger PTSD symptoms. Although everyone experiences those symptoms differently, experts told SELF previously that, when you do feel triggered, it may help to practice grounding exercises to remind yourself that you're not in immediate danger or to reach out to rape crisis centers for support. In the long-term, though, these moments are sign that you may benefit from professional counseling.