Celebrities Who Spoke Out About Their Experiences Of Sexual Assault
No means no.
According to Rape Crisis, nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year. What's more, 1 in 5 women aged 16-59 currently experiences some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
The nature of these crimes can make it feel extremely hard to speak out about them, but here are some celebrities who have shared their own experiences. By using their position of influence and personal experiences to try to effect positive change, they are both challenging this troubling acceptance of such a widespread problem and showing solidarity with those who too have been victims of rape and sexual assault.
“My first sexual experience was not a good one," she told Marie Claire. "I didn't think about it until I started reading my journal again. When it happened, I wrote about it almost like a throwaway. It was like, ‘And then I looked down and realised he was inside of me. He was saying, ‘I’m so sorry’ and ‘I can’t believe I did this.’
“I had another time with a boyfriend where I was saying, ‘No, stop,’ and it was just completely ignored.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she admitted it had happened to her at the age of 19: “I was already Lady Gaga when it happened. It was someone that I knew, and it was done to manipulate me in conjunction with money and my music, and it was terrifying. It’s something that changed me forever, and it made me question everything about what I had done to be where I am today.
"I thought to myself, ‘Did I do something wrong to bring this on myself? What did I do?’ I am so sick of people walking in and out of my life telling me that I'm ‘gonna be OK,’ because I am still in so much pain that you can't understand.”
She explained to Howard Stern she went through 'a lot of mental and physical therapy and emotional therapy to heal'. And that we should all band together to make it through these challenging experiences.
"I'm here because when I look out onto the sea of beautiful young faces that I get to sing and dance for, I see a lot of people who have secrets that are killing them. We don't want you to keep your pain inside and let it rot like an old apple on your counter, you know? It's like, just get rid of all that trash. Let's get rid of it together,” she said at TimesTalk.
She said to Cosmopolitan: “At first, I felt so disoriented and numb, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. I wondered if I had done something to give him the wrong idea. I felt afraid of making him angry. Believe it or not, I didn't want to offend him. I just wanted it to be over. I let a friend come stay at my place, because he needed to crash, and I woke up and my Southern hospitality, if you want to call it that, was being greatly taken advantage of. I woke up, and he was inside me.
"For 10 years I thought it was my fault. I didn't fight back. I found out recently through my studies of neuroscience that my body completely shut everything down and wouldn't let me fight back because I thought that was the only way to cope with abuse."
She wrote on Instagram: “He’s a big guy, taller than me. The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirt by my vagina … and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club. That part of my body, which [Donald Trump] recently described as something he’d like to grab a woman by, was bruised from my ex-boyfriend's violence for at least the next week.”
In her boook, ‘I Don't Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice,’ Keke wrote: “At the end of the day, it wasn’t handed to me. At the end of the day, the cards were against me. At the end of the day, I did grow up on Section 8. At the end of the day, I have experienced abuse, sexual abuse.
"The reality is it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what your daddy did to you or what your mama did to you.”
"I had a summer job at a shoe store. One night, as my coworker and I were closing up, a man robbed the shop and raped me at gunpoint," she told Oprah magazine.
"Therapy helped me ask myself, 'Who in my life is going to encourage survivorhood, not victimhood?”
Missy talked about suffering at the hands of her 16-year-old cousin when she was eight years old on VH1’s Behind The Music. She said: “Each day he wanted me to come to the house after school. It became sexual, which, for me at eight years old, I had no clue what that was, but I knew something was wrong.
"Being molested…it don’t disappear. You remember it as if it was yesterday.”
Eva told her story on a YouTube video, saying: "The police dropped my case and the school didn’t help me either. I was forced to handle it on my own. For me when I was going through this when I was 16, I thought that I could get over it really easily and in some cases I did. I was strong enough; I prevailed; my life turned out to be amazing.
"But still to this day I have to go back and that's a memory that I don't want to have. But I do...No means no, and no is all you have to say to make it not right."
Lena wrote about being raped at the age of 19 by a fellow college student in her memoir ‘Not The Kind Of Girl’.
“After my assault, all I could imagine when I thought about sex was not being injured or, when I really didn’t like myself, being very injured." she writes.
"That’s all there was room for. In the past few years I’ve started to ask myself what I really want out of sex. Like an amnesia patient trying to piece my old life back together, I look back on the fantasies that propelled my solitary teenage lust and I wonder what I’d want now, at age 30, if I were unleashed upon the dating world and presenting a completely new me to someone who had zero relationship to my trauma.”
She told The Independent why she had shared her story: "I think I knew that sharing that experience was - I not only felt it was important because of what I was seeing other young women go through, I felt it was important because of what it was going to give me spiritually to not be hiding that anymore."
Katie has spoken about an assault that took place when she was eight in a park by a stranger.
She said on Loose Women: “There was the sexual assault and I was later raped, which I have discussed before and I do believe it led to me dressing provocatively and becoming a model. I had been training to be a nurse but the glamour modelling world is aimed at men. They can look but they can't touch. You can say or do what you like in a picture.”
Evan Rachel Wood
After her character in Westworld experienced rape, the actress penned an open letter about her own experience on Twitter:
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