12/02/2014 08:59 EST

Lady Gaga Was Raped As A Teen, Pop Star Tells Howard Stern

Lady Gaga was making a serious point when she sang on stage while an artist vomited paint all over her.

The "Poker Face" chanteuse performed her song "Swine" as U.K. artist Millie Brown threw up paint on her at the annual South by Southwest multimedia festival and conference last March.

The show was variously described as disturbing and offensive. But as Gaga told The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday, it was about much more than disturbing her audience.

Here's some of what Gaga told Stern:

"The song is about rape, the song is about demoralization, the song is about rage and fury and passion, and I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release, and I said to myself, 'I want to sing this song while I'm ripping hard on a drumkit,' and then I want to get on a mechanical bull, which is probably one of the most demoralizing things 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, you could never, ever degrade me as much as I could degrade myself and look how beautiful it is when I do."

Stern then asked her whether she had been raped by a record producer. Gaga tried to change the subject, but Stern persisted.

She responded by saying that she has gone through some "horrific things" she can laugh at now because she's been through therapy.

"My music's been wonderful for me, but you know, I was a shell of my former self at one point," Gaga said.

"I was not myself, and to be fair, I was about 19, so you know, I went to Catholic school and then all this crazy stuff happened, and I was going, is this just the way adults are?"

Gaga went on to say that the incident did not affect her after it happened as much as it did "about four or five years later."

"I was so traumatized by it, because I just had to get out of there," she said.

Gaga said she also didn't want to be defined by the incident, or let anyone think that her creative ideas were because of the assault.

"I'll be damned if somebody's going to say that every creatively intelligent thing is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me," she said.

Gaga added that the record producer in question was 20 years older than she was, and that she later saw him in a store and felt "paralyzed by fear."

Her admission came amid a wider conversation around sexual assault that has been triggered, in part, by allegations against comedian Bill Cosby.

The star of "The Cosby Show" has been accused of sexually assaulting almost 20 women, The Wrap reported.

The most recent allegation comes from Canadian model Lisa Jones, who told ET Canada that he assaulted her at his New York home when she was a teen.

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