Oscars raise awareness of sexual assaults

Posted at 7:50 PM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 21:10:53-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Vice President Joe Biden took the stage at the 88th Academy Awards in support of victims of sexual assaults.

"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," Biden said. "They did nothing wrong."

The Vice President went on to introduce Lady Gaga's performance of her Oscar nominated song 'Until It Happens To You.' A song written for a documentary which deals with campus rape. Gaga's emotional performance resonated with local sexual assault victims like Reverend Dr. Charmayne Davis.

"Look at her," Davis said about Gaga. "She's phenomenal, she has millions of followers. She has millions of young people who worship her and her work with Tony Bennett has a whole generation that knows who she is and people are hearing her and understanding."

Sexual assault survivors joined Gaga, a sexual assault victim herself, onstage, with words like "survivor" and "not your fault" written on their bodies. Valerie Richards works with sexual assault survivors at the Inner Truth Project in Port St. Lucie. She says she's happy to see a positive reaction to Gaga's performance.

"I think it's wonderful," said Richards. "Because it brings awareness to places like the Inner Truth Project where people can go and get services."

And meet other survivors like Davis who shares her story to help bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault.

"This will go out," Davis said about Gaga's performance. "And more and more people will understand that people are being hurt every day and it's destroying lives."