Reese Witherspoon and America Ferreira have revealed that they were also sexually assaulted at different times in their life. Reese referenced the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein at the Elle Women in Hollywood event earlier this week. During her acceptance speech at the Beverly Hilton, Reese told the audience her story:
“This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths. 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…[and] guilt for not speaking up earlier. [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 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.”
“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. I have just spoken to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences, and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. That truth is very encouraging to me and everyone out there in the world, because you can only heal by telling the truth. I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal. For the young women in this room, life is going to be different because we’re with you, we have your back and it makes me feel better. It makes me sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”
On October 16, many celebrities took to social media to to share stories of sexual harassment and assault using the hashtag #MeToo. Last night, America Ferreira posted a message on Instagram to contribute her own story of sexual assault. The said incident happened to her when she was just nine years old:
We salute all the celebrities who have used their platform in society to make a stand and also to shed light on the horrors of said society. Unfortunately, it had to take a massive scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein to bring all of this to light.