The chart-topping singer was raped at the age of 19 and admitted the incident had a profound impact on how she’s lived her life ever since during an interview on Thursday.
The following day, the star performed her tribute song to victims of sexual assault, Til It Happens to You, at Billboard’s 10th Annual Women in Music luncheon at Cipriani in New York.
She was joined by her fiance Taylor Kinney at the start studded event.
While promoting The Hunting Ground, a documentary on campus rape, she told TalkTimes on Thursday: ‹The only person in this scenario that can heal you is yourself, and that is the complicated process.›
Gaga, now 29, said she kept the harrowing incident to herself for years, admitting she didn’t know how to cope with the emotional turmoil.
‘I didn’t tell anyone for I think seven years,’ she explained.
‘I didn’t know how to even think about it, I didn’t know how to accept it, I didn’t know how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed thoughts.’
Gaga also admitted there were times she blamed herself for the attack.
She shared: ‘After it happened, I’m like, ‘But what did I do in my life to bring this upon myself?’ There was some sort of maybe religious guilt attached to it that I had somehow inspired the violence.
‘Because of the way that I dress, and the way that I’m provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way – that it was my fault.’
However, the ‘Born This Way’ hitmaker said she’s since turned her pain into new-found strength and resolve.
She explained: ‘When somebody says to me, ‘Oh, that happened to you?’ ‘Oh, did that damage you?’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘You don’t know who the f**k I am now! You don’t want to meet me in an alleyway. What I’ve been through.’
‘You can own your pain and it can be a good part of you.’
Now she hopes to inspire other women.
She said: ‘I’m here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them.
‘We don’t want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It’s like, just get rid of all that trash. Let’s get rid of it together.’
On Friday, Gaga joined a host of female performers at Cipriani on 42nd Street for the Billboard event, including Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Ciara.
She also shared a sweet moment on the red carpet with her friend and collaborator, Tony Bennett.
She was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year and received the honour after an introduction by her mother, Cynthia Germanotta.
Accepting the award, she told the crowd: ‘It’s really hard sometimes for women in music. It’s like a f*cking boys club that we just can’t get into.’
‘Women provide a wisdom to music that is very unique and special,’ she continued.
‘It is a perspective no one else can have because we bear life. And because we go through things no one else goes through. And because it’s right. Because we’re all equal.’
She ended her speech with a message to those who doubted her, saying: ‘I couldn’t wait to prove you wrong.’