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Gaga set to school Piers Morgan on mental health and sexual assault

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Piers Morgan, professional Twitter feudist and pal of Donald Trump, isn’t generally known for his sensitive, emotionally intelligent take on news involving women.

So it’s not much of a surprise that his considered response to Lady Gaga saying she lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a sexual assault was to dictate the terms of mental health, writing (on Twitter, of course): “No, soldiers returning from battlefields do. Enough of this vain-glorious [sic] nonsense.”

Now the singer has offered Morgan an interview in order to help him learn more about both PTSD and the complicated issues around rape and sexual assault – especially as he went on to cast doubt on her alleged attack by pointing out she never reported it to the police.


Read more: Lady Gaga on the lasting emotional pain of sexual assault


GMB presenter Morgan initially posted a string of messages on social media in response to followers, saying that as someone from a “big military family”, he was particularly upset that “celebrities start claiming 'PTSD' about everything to promote themselves” and describing it as “the latest celebrity accessory”.

While PTSD is most commonly associated with those who have experienced combat, having rightly gained recognition as a severe, debilitating condition often affecting those who have spent time in horrific war zones, it’s not exclusive to the armed forces – as the NHS explains, it can be caused by any stressful, frightening or distressing event, most recently being linked to women who experience miscarriage.

Lady Gaga Oscars Til It Happens To You

The singer gave a powerful rendition of 'Til It Happens To You, a track accompanying a documentary on rape

Symptoms often include sufferers reliving the event though nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts or images at unwanted moments. Further symptoms are problems with sleeping and concentration, and feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt, often severe enough to have an impact on sufferers' day-to-day life.

After revealing she has PTSD, earlier this month Gaga wrote in an open letter that her condition could sometimes leave her “paralysed with fear” and “unable to function” – all triggered by an attack early in her career by a man in a position of power.


Read more: Watch Lady Gaga’s powerful performance at the Oscars


She said in January: “It was someone that I knew, and it was done to manipulate me in conjunction with money and my music, and it was terrifying.

“It's something that changed me forever […] I am so sick of people walking in and out of my life telling me that I'm ‘gonna be okay’ because I am still in so much pain that you can't understand.”

Morgan’s PTSD comments turned into a discussion about how he was allowed to be “sceptical” about both Gaga and Madonna’s alleged attacks, first saying he “wouldn't automatically believe anything either Madonna or Lady Gaga claimed about their lives” before specifically linking his doubt to the fact neither of them had officially reported the incidents.

“The football victims have named names of attackers & reported incidents to police. Lady Gaga & Madonna have done neither,” he said on Twitter.

“I didn't say they lied, I said I remain sceptical. They should name names and/or report to police.”

As well as pointing out that there are reasons many women don’t report at the time of assault (not least the prevailing culture of disbelief that attitudes like Morgan’s perfectly demonstrate), Gaga gracefully suggested an interview.

Of course, Morgan scrambled to accept.

While it will no doubt be an emotional, difficult and possibly triggering conversation for Gaga, potentially full of inflammatory and insensitive questions, the star is determined to “raise awareness”, having said in her open letter: “Traditionally, many associate PTSD as a condition faced by brave men and women that serve countries all over the world.

“While this is true, I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth. I pledge not only to help our youth not feel ashamed of their own conditions, but also to lend support to those servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD. No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed.”

Bravo, Gaga.

Visit rapecrisis.org.uk for more information on specialist services and organisations in your area, or call the free Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999. The helpline is open daily 12pm-2.30pm and 7pm-9.30pm, as well as 3pm-5.30pm on weekdays

The Survivors Trust can be contacted on 0808 801 0818 or visit the website thesurvivorstrust.org

Images: Rex Features

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