Sølve Sundsbø for ELLEIn an interview with Oprah Winfrey for the December issue of ELLE, Lady Gaga opens up about her years of suffering, both as a result of her physical ailments, and the PTSD she’s experienced as a victim of sexual assault.

“When I won the Oscar for ‘Shallow,’….a reporter asked me, ‘When you look at that Oscar, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a lot of pain,’” Gaga tells Oprah.

“And I wasn’t lying in that moment. I was raped when I was 19 years old, repeatedly,” she continues. “I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going. And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it.”

And while most fans are aware of Gaga’s chronic pain and the sexual assault in her past, the singer reveals an additional struggle.

“I think it’s an important thing for people to know and hear: I was a cutter for a long time,” she says, referring to the practice of self-harm.

“The only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help,” she explains, noting, “…[T]elling someone…that defused it.”

Today, Gaga says she thinks of herself as a “kindness punk,” explaining, “Punks…have a sort of reputation for being rebellious, right? So…I really view my career…as a rebellion against all the things in the world that I see to be unkind. Kindness heals the world. Kindness heals people.”

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