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rape survivor

Opening up about being sexually assaulted takes an overwhelming amount of strength. Thousands of women have come forward and shared their own stories since the wake of the #MeToo movement. Their courage is admirable and their experiences are harrowing, but most notably, they’re real.

Influential actresses and singers have shared their stories of sexual assault, including Lady Gaga.

Regardless of their success and status, these women are just like us. They’ve been through a traumatising ordeal and no amount of fame or money makes it any easier, something we all need to remember.

At the mere age of 19, Gaga was raped by a music producer. The Born This Way singer may have been one of the biggest names to come forward in the #MeToo narrative, but she is also a victim who continues to be affected by that assault every day.


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She told Teen Vogue: “I feel stunned. Or stunted. You know that feeling when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re just about to go down the really steep slope?”

“That fear and the drop in your stomach? My diaphragm seizes up. Then I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm. And I begin to cry. That’s what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it’s miserable,” the A Star Is Born actress shared.

“I always say that trauma has a brain. And it works its way into everything that you do.”


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She continued to explain that sharing her story was her own personal choice, but it is different for every victim: “I feel like I’ve been an advocate but also a shocked audience member, watching #MeToo happen.”

Gaga explained that speaking out about being raped was like facing a monster: “It took years. No one else knew. It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster. And you have to face the monster to heal.”


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It is important for us to remember that the celebrities who come forward and share their personal experiences are human too.

They may be Oscar winners or Grammy nominees, but we need to remember, more than anything, they are victims and the courage it took for them to publicly open up makes them fearless heroes.



A rape survivor has highlighted the lack of treatment and support units available for victims of sexual assault in a letter addressed to Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Dominique Meehan wrote to the Fine Gael leader after she was forced to travel from Dublin to Mullingar because the capital's Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) was not available at the time.

The 25-year-old was attending a comic book convention at the Blanchardstown Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin hotel when she was raped by Keith Hearne.

According to The Irish Independent, last summer, the Central Criminal Court heard that Hearne had purchased a “rape kit” consisting of a prop knife, handcuffs, a mask and condoms prior to the attack.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of false imprisonment and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In a effort to improve services for other victims of sexual assault, Dominique wrote a powerful letter calling on the Taoiseach to establish more SATUs around the country.

“Since Hearne’s conviction I have found out a lot about our criminal justice system, Sexual Assault Treatment Units, and about the availability of services for rape survivors like the Rape Crisis Network Ireland,” she writes.

"It has become acceptable in Ireland that a survivor has to travel a maximum of two-and-a-half hours to reach a SATU. Imagine that you have been attacked in Westport and need to travel all the way to Sligo hospital to reach their SATU, sometimes not even in an ambulance," she wrote.

"You must sit in the dirty clothes that you have been attacked in, unable to drink, sore in areas you have no right to be sore in. I myself, having been attacked in Dublin, was sent to Mullingar as there were no SATUs available in Dublin, and wasn't allowed to drink for six hours even though I had been orally raped.

"No SATUs in Dublin? A county with more than a million people to serve. One in four women and one in 33 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime and there is only one SATU in the Rotunda. It's utterly astounding that this has gone on for so long."

Dominique says she hopes to eventually go on to work with rape survivors.