Lady Gaga Leaves Stars in Tears with Emotional Oscars Performance Surrounded by Sexual Assault Survivors

updated 02/29/2016 AT 12:10 AM EST

originally published 02/28/2016 AT 11:40 PM EST

Cue the "Applause."

Lady Gaga wowed at the Oscars on Sunday as she delivered a powerful performance of "Til It Happens to You," the sexual assault-inspired track she penned with hitmaker Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape and assault on college campuses.

Before the Best Song nominee sang the powerful ballad, Vice President Joe Biden – a longtime advocate against sexual assault and domestic violence and the Violence Against Women Act author – took the stage to introduce the pop star.

"Despite significant progress over the last few years, too many women and men, on and off college campuses, are still victims of sexual abuse, and tonight, I am asking you to join million of Americans, including me, President Obama, the thousands of students I've met on college campuses and the artists here tonight to take the pledge. A pledge that says – I will intervene in situations when consent has not or has not been given. Let's change the culture. We must and we can change the culture. So that no abused woman or man, like the survivors you will see tonight, ever feel they ever have to ask themselves 'What did I do?' They did nothing wrong," said the politician.



"Now, welcome my friend and a courageous lady herself, Lady Gaga," Biden concluded as he raised his hand to the singer, 29, sitting at a white piano.

The song bears special meaning for Gaga, who in 2014 revealed that she was raped at age 19.

The star-studded crowd, who awarded Gaga with a standing ovation, was left stunned after the moving performance. Best Supporting Actress 'Kate watched with tears in her eyes, and Best Actress nominee Brie Larson hugged each and every survivor as they exited the room.





Check out PEOPLE's full Academy Awards 2016 coverage and complete winners list!

"When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn't just have the immediate physical ramifications. For many people it has almost like trauma, where you re-experience it through the years after it," the first-time Oscar nominee said last year of her assault. "It can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress. So a lot of people suffer not just emotional and mental pain, but physical pain as a result of being abused, raped or traumatized in some way."

Because of her difficult experience, performing "Til It Happens You" is especially emotional.

"Every time I sing that song, it's difficult for me," she said last month in a Hollywood Reporter podcast interview she did with co-writer Warren, who herself was molested when she was 12.

Added Warren: "But it's healing people."



Along with "Til It Happens to You," the 2016 Best Original Song nominations include: "Earned It" from Fifty Shades of Grey; "Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction; "Simple Song No. 3" from Youth; and "Writing's on the Wall" from Spectre.

In addition to their Oscar nomination for "Til It Happens to You," Gaga and Warren also nabbed a Grammy nomination, though "Glory" from Selma took home the prize on music's biggest night.

The 88th annual Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, are being presented live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.
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