Lady Gaga Says Sexual Harassment Was the "Rule, Not the Exception" When She Started in Music

While Lady Gaga has spoken candidly about the lasting effects of the sexual assault she suffered at age 19, she wishes she had spoken up sooner.

“When I started in the music business when I was around 19, it was the rule, not the exception, that you would walk into a recording studio and be harassed,” the A Star is Born actress, 32, said at a roundtable hosted by The Hollywood Reporter.

“It was just the way that it was. So I do wish that I had spoken up sooner. I did speak up about it. I was assaulted when I was young, and I told people.”

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Despite sharing the details of her rape, the Grammy winner says the “boys club” culture protected assailants.

“Nobody wants to lose their power, so they don’t protect you because if they say something, it takes some of their power away,” she added. “What I hope is that these conversations come together — that it’s not just about equal pay on one side … or equal billing over here … and then assault on this side. But that it all comes together and that this movement is all of those things.”

During the discussion, the “Million Reasons” singer listened carefully to Glenn Close, who shared that a “very famous, very big actor” had subtly “put his hand” on her thigh during a reading.

“It just froze me up,” The Wife star shared during the annual Actress Roundtable. “Because you’re trying to do the scene, and all of a sudden you think, ‘Why is he doing that?’”

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Of the six ladies on the panel, which included Kathryn Hahn, Nicole Kidman, Regina King and Rachel Weisz, Lady Gaga was the first to respond.

“It’s a trauma response,” shared the powerhouse, who still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and continues to combat the symptoms.

During the interview, the singer also shared she couldn’t have “complete control” during filming A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper.

“I dyed my hair very early, before we started filming. I started to dress like her,” she said. “I wanted Ally to be nothing like me. This was very important to me because the truth is, I am nothing like Ally. I created Gaga.”

After not initially finding luck in the film or television industry, she created her own roles while creating music.

“For many years, I have created characters for myself. Because I did not make it as an actress. So, I made characters that I could be — so that I could be one.”

This article originally appeared on People. For more stories like this, visit people.com.

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