In the wake of all of the Harvey Weinstein news, literally thousands of women are coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault, across industries.
You may have noticed the hashtag #MeToo swirling around social media, where women expressed that they, too, had been victims of harassment or assault. In fact, about half a million users used this hashtag on Twitter alone. Pretty powerful and haunting. But as a woman, not surprising.
Following this discussion, many women in Hollywood are sharing their sexual assault or harassment experiences. Here are some of their stories.
1. Lili Reinhart
“I’m not comfortable giving specific details about the situation because I don’t feel it’s necessary. All that matters is that he tried to force himself on me when we were on a date.”
She also adds,
“This guy proceeded to tell me that it was my fault for leading him on. Saying that “I seemed like a sexual girl and that I’d be down for it.” That I misled him….He refused to talk to me. I remember begging him to come outside his trailer so we could talk. I needed clarity on the situation. I felt like I had genuinely done something wrong– that maybe I really was being a tease to him and led him to believe that I wanted to be with him sexually. I was miserable. And I felt that I needed to keep my mouth shut about the entire situation because 1. I figured no one would believe me and 2. he played a much bigger role in this project than me… he had more power. If I said something, maybe the production would be halted… people would be put out of work. I would be looked at as dramatic and a diva, no one would want to work with me again.”
Read her full post on Tumblr.
2. Reese Witherspoon
“I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly, and I found it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action. [I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.”
3. America Ferrera
“First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9-years-old. I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man. I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come. He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he and I knew—that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back.”
“I am inspired by the women everywhere who are speaking up online to tell about my experience with a Danish director. Because I come from a country that is one of the worlds place closest to equality between the sexes and at the time i came from position of strength in the music world with hard-earned independence, it was extremely clear to me when I walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it. I became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it. When I turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one.”
5. Martha Stewart
“I was asked to wear a bikini under my clothes. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe we’re doing a beach commercial or something,’ So I go into the room and there’s a table with all men sitting around it and it’s an advertisement agency, I can’t remember which one it was. They said, ‘Now you can take your clothes off,’ and I said, ‘Oh, is this where are we doing the commercial? Are we wearing bikinis in the commercial.’ They said, ‘No, but as long as you’re here we might as well see what you look like.”
6. Jennifer Lawrence
“A female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me. We are stood side-by-side with only tape on covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
She adds that she spoke with another producer about this mistreatment, who responded,
“He said he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat. He thought I was ‘perfectly f***able.'”
7. Gabrielle Union
“I got raped at work at a Payless shoe store. I had on a long tunic & leggings so miss me w/ “dress modestly” shit. Though I was raped by a stranger who raped me at gunpoint after robbing the store, I was still asked by a female “friend” what I had worn.”
This list is by no means exhaustive. Although more victims are starting to feel more comfortable coming forward, there are thousands of women who don’t come forward, considering some of the aforementioned risked that these actresses mentioned. No one owes us a story. But we must acknowledge that this is happening, believe victims, and do everything in our power to help.
If you or someone needs safe, confidential help, please call RAINN 800.656.HOPE (4673). There is also a Live Chat available on their website.