The recent exposure of Hollywood’s sexually abusive culture is motivating women in the entertainment industry to come forward and share their stories of falling victim to sexual assault.
Reese Witherspoon expressed her disproval on the film industry’s treatment toward women Monday night at the Elle Women in Hollywood event sponsored by Calvin Klein and L’Oréal Paris. Witherspoon also shared her personal experience being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood director at the age of 16.
I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier,” Witherspoon said to People Magazine. “[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment. And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often.”
The actress’ confession comes in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein where over 30 women have now come forward. Accusations include rape and forced sexual contact. Other celebrities like Gweneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Jennifer Lawrence have shared their personal stories being sexually taken advantage of as young actresses in Hollywood.
“But after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career,” Witherspoon added.