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Tue Aug 30 15:09:16 SAST 2016

Biden, Lady Gaga turn Oscars into anti-rape rally

AFP | 29 February, 2016 07:53
US Vice President Joe Biden introduces singer Lady Gaga after making a plea to prevent sexual abuse at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016.
Image by: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS

Lady Gaga on Sunday led the Oscars in a rally against campus sexual assault, bringing together rape survivors who joined arms in solidarity.

The pop star, who recently has spoken out about being raped as a teenager, was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden who personally took part in Hollywood's biggest night to lend his voice to the cause.

Gaga, singing to a piano and occasionally stretching her arms out with emotion, performed "Till It Happens To You" which was nominated for the Oscar for best song for "The Hunting Ground," a documentary about rape on campus.

As she neared the end of the song, dozens of young women with the occasional young man took the stage together with slogans handwritten on their arms that included "Not At All Your Fault" and "Unbreakable."

Biden, introducing Lady Gaga whom he described as "courageous" and a friend, urged artists and viewers to join him in signing an online pledge, found at itsonus.org, to promise to fight against sexual assault.

The pledge commits to "intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given" for sex.

"Despite significant progress over the last few years, too many women and men on and off college campuses are still victims of sexual abuse," Biden said.

"We must and we can change the culture, so that no abused woman or man like the survivors you will see tonight ever feel they have to ask themselves, 'What did I do?' They did nothing wrong."

Lady Gaga was nominated for the Oscar for best song, although she lost to Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall" from the latest James Bond film "Spectre."

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