Gaga Shares How Her Fiancé Helped Her Post-Assault

After a strikingly powerful and incredibly important performance of "Til It Happens To You" at the 2016 Oscars, Lady Gaga shared a touching tribute to fiancé Taylor Kinney and explained how he helped her through the horrors of overcoming her rape at age 19. Posting a picture of herself kissing Kinney at the Oscars, Gaga shared a vulnerable, honest, and inspirational caption honoring the Chicago Fire actor and thanking him for his role in her recovery. "I never thought anyone would ever love me because I felt like my body was ruined by my abuser," Gaga captioned the photo. "But he loves the survivor in me. He's stood by me all night proud and unashamedly. THAT'S a real man."

Lady Gaga, who fought her way through an emotional, chill-inducing Academy Awards performance that included a stage full of courageous sexual assault survivors, is not just sharing her personal anecdote, she's also sending an important message to assault survivors everywhere: The abuse you've endured does not define you. Things get better, and I am living proof.

By calling Kinney a "real man," she's making an important distinction between the kind of man who is a violent abuser and the kind of man who recognizes the unbelievable strength and courage in a woman (particularly one who has dealt with sexual violence) and values and respects that incredible bravery within her. A man who chooses to support rather than harm, to feel unbelievable pride within his fiancée for all that she has overcome and all that she does to spread awareness and help end sexual assault.

Though the singer chose to honor her fiancé in the Instagram snap, it's important to note that she is not saying that having a man by your side is like some magic wand that will instantly make things better. No, what Kinney represents is the hope and goals a survivor set for his or herself before his or her assault — and it's proof that they can still get there, despite the enormous amount of difficulties and hardships that the assault has forced them to deal with along the way.

Gaga will never stop championing for survivors of sexual abuse, and her Instagram is proof that things can, and will, get better for survivors across the board. Just keep fighting.