Going into Sunday's Oscars, we knew that Vice President Joe Biden would be introducing Lady Gaga ahead of her performance of "Till It Happens to You." The song, co-written by Gaga and Diane Warren — who, according to Rolling Stone, are both survivors of sexual assault — appeared in the documentary The Hunting Ground, which discusses rape on college campuses.
Basically, we knew it was going to be powerful, given the subject matter and the nation's second-in-command swinging by Hollywood's biggest night to help push the White House's It's On Us campaign, whose goal is to raise awareness about and stop sexual assault.
But we weren't prepared for all the emotions that came during the powerful stage show, which garnered Gaga a standing ovation, and brought many in the audience to tears, if they weren't immediately left speechless by the performance's collective message.
Gaga was joined onstage by female and male survivors of sexual assault. While they stood silently as Gaga performed the song on a piano, they extended their arms to reveal written messages scrolled on them, such as "not your fault" and "survivor." Later, they all clasped hands and raised their arms to signify strength and unity. Check out the full performance above.
It was a strong statement against sexual assault that empowered those who have been victims of such attacks, and another in Gaga's discourse against sexual harassment and attacks. She's been a vocal supporter of singer Kesha, who is in musical limbo due a case involving producer Dr. Luke, who she says was mentally and sexually abusive to her. Kesha and Gaga even had a Twitter exchange about the performance.