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Warning: This contains graphic content that may be upsetting!

Warning: This contains graphic content that may be upsetting!

This doesn’t have anything to do with being Episcopalian or Anglican or even about being Christian. This is about being human. This is about some very sad facts of the human condition. Both of these music videos bring tears to my eyes when I view them. They bring up memories of personal experience or of the personal experience of close friends. They are about violations of the most intimate kind. Like most good art, they tell a story that touches us.

Lady Gaga has a new music video entitled Til It Happens To You. The song was written by Oscar winner Diane Warren. The music video is the work of Catherine Hardwicke. Actress Nikki Reed portrays one of the women in the video. She and Hardwicke have collaborated in projects before, such as Twilight (2008). The song in this music video is featured in an upcoming documentary, The Hunting Ground. The documentary investigates universities in the United States that are covering up incidents of rape on their campuses to protect the school’s image.

Till your world burns and crashes / Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope / Till you’re standing in my shoes / I don’t wanna hear a thing or two from you, from you, from you.

song lyric – Til It Happens To You

The music video portrays the rape on campus of four women, in different situations, by males students. The first scene, which features Nikki Reed, shows the rape of a young women when she is overpowered in her dorm-room by an acquaintance. The second portrayal depicts a gay or transgender woman attacked by a man in a restroom. And the final and perhaps most graphic is an enactment of a guy spiking the drinks of two women in a party setting. He then “assists” them to what appears to be his dorm or apartment where he has violated one woman and is in the attempt to violate the second, when she is able to over-power him and rescue herself and her friend.

Together the lyrics of the song and the graphic images convey a powerful message. The video ends with the victims of assault realizing that they survive by speaking with others and participating in mutual support.

We have a responsibility to the young men and women of this country to stand up against sexual violence everywhere

Lady Gaga – open letter campaigning with Gov Andrewe Cuomo for passage of the Enough is Enough bill in New York State

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This second music video is from the alternative pop band Brick + Mortar and is their song Hollow Tune. Not nearly so graphic and raw as the Lady Gaga music video, this one tells the stories of two different men interwoven with glimpses of the present, flashbacks to prior events and finally interrelated as their paths fatefully cross. The video opens with a young man who has been beaten and left on the blacktop in an alleyway. You soon realize this has been a gay-bashing when his boyfriend is the one he calls and who comes to rescue him. Later in the video you catch glimpses of the boyfriend cleaning and treating his wounds.

The second scene is the joyful homecoming of two average marines; friends, brothers in arms and rack-mates. Later in the celebration with the arrival of his boyfriend do you realize that he also is gay. You aren’t sure when the boyfriend arrives if this is a welcome visit, as what appears to be the marine’s dad answers the door and there is a moment’s hesitation. But all is well as he embraces the younger man and sends him looking for his son, the marine.

We make music for people who believe in equality and acceptance for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or belief. This song was written about love to say: ‘You’re not alone, I’m not alone,’ to the one you love. Love is love period.

Brick + Mortar / Brandon Asraf & John Tacon

The final portrayal is when the two couples paths cross in a local bar, the one guy looking battered & bruised with his boyfriend and the marine with his. They nod in acknowledgement as they pass outside. Later, another bar patron, who is oblivious that the marine is gay, notices the other couple in a back corner, more attentive to one another than he cares to see. He proceeds to go harass the couple, but not without catching the watchful eye of the marine. When the harassment grows physical, the marine intercedes and throws the rowdy patron out.

Ultimately, it was comments from people stating how the song had changed their lives or helped them get through tough times, how this piece of music had a profound effect on their very existence. The words ‘you’re not alone’ became so central. I knew we had to create a story representing characters that are underrepresented and in turn speak to all people underrepresented. People that may be struggling to find or accept their identity or circumstances. We knew we had to send a message to all people: That they are not alone

Rosco Guerrero of Blurred Films

The climax is the story of the two marines to which we have been privy in little snatches throughout the video. In their shared barrack, the straight marine has put up a photo of he and his girlfriend (wife?) and he wants a photo of the other marine and his boyfriend to place beside it.

One in five women are raped on US college campuses. I don’t know a statistic for the number of GLBTQ folks who are bullied and beaten and even killed in this country. These videos speak to a need to change the situation. Men need to develop a culture of respect for women. This society needs to develop a culture of respect for sexual minorities. I personally know too many who have experienced these violations first hand on this nation’s streets. One is too many. I was gay bashed twice in the mid 80s while living in this country to attend graduate school. Once was too many.

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Ann Fontaine

Thanks for bringing our attention to these and once again to the issues.

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