Lady Gaga says her song "Swine" is about her being a victim of sexual assault at age 19.
In an interview with Howard Stern on his radio show Tuesday, Gaga says she was raped by a man 20 years her senior who was a record producer. "It didn't affect me as much right after as it did about four or five years later," she told Stern. "It hit me so hard."
The singer also explained that her performance of "Swine" at SXSW — which featured her riding a mechanical bull and getting paint vomited on her by a performance artist — was an act of retaliation.
"I said to myself, I want to sing this song while I'm ripping hard on a drum kit, and then I want to get on a mechanical bull — which is probably one of the most demoralizing things that you can put a female on, in her underwear — and I want this chick to throw up on me in front of the world, so that I can tell them, 'You know what? You could never, ever degrade me as much as I can degrade myself, and look how beautiful it is when I do,'" she said.
Gaga, 28, says she never confronted her attacker and that she didn't initially realize that what she experienced was rape. "I saw him one time in a store and I was paralyzed by fear," she said. "It wasn't until I was a little bit older that I went, 'Wow, that was really messed up.'"
Listen to a portion of her interview here: