Sounding Off on Physical, Emotional & Sexual Assault: 20 Stars Who Gave a Voice to the Voiceless
The 38-year-old actress appears on the latest cover of Glamour where she recalled being allegedly raped by a police cadet when she was only 17. Haddish said the incident led to her seeking help and shaped the way she approached men in her life.
"That whole experience put me in such a messed-up place for a long time, and I ended up going to counseling," she said.
The experience led her to want to make a change and help victims of sexual assault, and she's working on figuring out what actions she can take to make a difference. "I need a plan," Haddish said. "I could be a voice, but what’s a voice going to do—just keep talking? Or is there action behind it?"
Months after alluding to a sexual assault incident, Lucy Hale opened up about her experience in the #MeToo era, in a cover story for Haute Living Los Angeles. "I've experienced stuff on the small side, but assault is assault. I think there are a lot of people who have been intoxicated and taken advantage of. It’s happened to me and people I know. It’s very common," she said. "Luckily, I’ve been unscathed; nothing’s hurt me too badly."
In January 2018, the actress referenced sexual assault in now-deleted posts on both her Twitter and Instagram pages, saying "I never understood sexual assault until tonight. I always sympathized, but I never felt the pain of it until right now. My dignity and pride was broken. I am completely at a loss of words."
Following the release of her new movie I Feel Pretty, which chronicles a woman's journey to self-confidence, Schumer opened up about her own struggles along her journey. She told Oprah on OWN's SuperSoul Conversations podcast that her ex convinced her that she "wasn’t lovable and he was the only person who could ever possibly love me."
"I got hurt by accident a lot. He didn’t realize how hard he’d grabbed me or shook me or pushed me, and I would fall and hit something then I’d be hurt," Schumer explained. "I can picture being thrown on the hood of a car like it was an hour ago."
"It’s so out of body," she continued. "You think, 'I’m not this woman, who is this woman? This can’t be me.' I’m not that kind of woman, and then you realize there is no kind of woman. It happens to all [women]."
The comedian also spoke about educating people on the "gray areas" of consent through her stand-up, revealing that she "lost her virginity while I was asleep.... In my stand-up, I would say if she’s asleep that’s a no."
The three-time Olympic gold medalist is adding her name to the multitude of women who have accused former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. The 23-year-old athlete spoke out about the alleged abuse she received at Nassar's hand in an interview with 60 Minutes.
"I am angry. I'm really upset because it's been… I care a lot, you know?" Raisman told the CBS News program. "I see these young girls that come up to me, and they ask for pictures or autographs, whatever it is, I just… I can't. Every time I look at them, every time I see them smiling, I just think — I just want to create change so that they never, ever have to go through this."
On an episode of her Unqualified podcast, Faris revealed her own uncomfortable encounter with a director on a movie set. "I was doing a scene where I was on a ladder and I was supposed to be taking books off a shelf and he slapped my ass in front of the crew so hard,” said the Mom star. “And all I could do was giggle.”
Faris added: “I remember looking around and I remember seeing the crew members being like, ‘Wait, what are you going to do about that? That seemed weird.’ And that’s how I dismissed it. I was like, ‘Well, this isn’t a thing. Like, it’s not that big of a deal. Buck up, Faris. Like, just giggle.’ But it made me feel small. He wouldn’t have done that to the lead male.”
In a New Yorker article released in October 2017, the Italian actress claimed that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1997, forcibly performing oral sex on her. She alleges that she was invited to what was supposed to be a Miramax party at a hotel in France, but arrived to find Weinstein alone in his hotel room. “He asks me to give a massage. I was, like, ‘Look man, I am no f—–g fool,’ ” Argento told writer Ronan Farrow of her experience. “But, looking back, I am a f—–g fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened.” She later added: “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”
Argento is among a group of women — which also includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne and Kate Beckinsale — who've accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
Justin Bieber's protégé has spoken out about her daunting experience with emotional abuse – after a recording emerged of her allegedly being verbally abused by boyfriend Jack Gilinsky. "Many of you [have been] asking me 'Why would you stay with him if it happened last year!' " Beer wrote in a post sha shared on Twitter. "My theory was, and as horrible as this is, is that if I left him, he’d do it to the next girl. I tried to fix him."
Gilinsky's own statement spoke to the circumstances: "In no way do I stand behind who I was in that part of my life. But people change & learn from their mistakes. The clip you’ve all heard is from last year. I was in a very dark place, & clearly had no control over my emotions."
Two weeks after Breslin opened up about her own sexual assault in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the actress went on her Instagram to explain why she didn't come forward with the incident right away. "I did not report my rape. I didn't report it because of many reasons," she wrote. "I was in a relationship with my rapist and feared not being believed ... I also feared that if my case didn't lead anywhere, he would still find out and hurt me even more."
The Dirty Dancing reboot star said that claims that unreported rapes "don't matter" is "unfair, untrue and unhelpful."
"It's like [saying] you got a black eye from being punched in the face, but because you didn't call the police, you didn't really get a black eye," she explained, concluding: "Unreported rapes count. Reported rapes count. End of the story."
In an interview with Brie Larson for The EDIT, the Grace and Frankie star talked about the "extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females" and revealed for the first time that she was once raped.
"I've been raped, I've been sexually abused as a child and I've been fired because I wouldn't sleep with my boss," she said. "I always thought it was my fault; that I didn't do or say the right thing."
Fonda's difficult past, she shared, is what led her to be a passionate activist for women's rights. In 2001, the actress established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, which aims to help prevent teen pregnancy. Through her work, Fonda said she wants to help abuse victims "realize that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right."
EVAN RACHEL WOOD
Following her interview with Rolling Stone, the Westworld star decided to go into detail about her experience with "physical, psychological [and] sexual" abuse in an email to the magazine. "The first time I was unsure that if it was done by a partner it was still in fact rape, until too late," she wrote, revealing she was sexually assaulted twice. "Also who would believe me. And the second time, I thought it was my fault and that I should have fought back more, but I was scared," she continued. "This was many, many years ago and I of course know now neither one was my fault and neither one was OK."
Wood revealed her reasoning behind her admission: "I don't believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer. Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism."
"I even experienced an executive that would kiss me on the lips. It consistently happened to the point where I was like, 'This ain't cool, man. Now he knows I'm not going to say anything.' Which is not OK," shared The Real cohost, following a discussion about First Lady Michelle Obama's emotional speech about sexual assault. "Obviously that happened then, I would never allow that to happen now, but a lot of women are in fear."
The Birth of a Nation actress has been vocal about being raped at gunpoint while working at a Payless shoe store 24 years ago — and has regularly used her platform to tell her story. And when old rape allegations about her Birth of a Nation director Nate Parker came to light recently, she spoke up again. "As a rape survivor and as an advocate, I cannot shy away from this responsibility because the conversation got difficult. I don't want to put myself above anyone's pain or triggers," she told Essence, adding that now she "can't sell this film." "Every victim or survivor, I believe you. I support you."
"It's important to talk about it, now has never been a better time to speak up and for young women to feel like they have a voice," Driver told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, recalling her own experience with sexual abuse when she was on vacation in Greece at 17. "Nobody gets to grab you by anything unless you want them to."
The Oscar winner has previously opened up about being physically abused by a former boyfriend, telling PEOPLE in 1996 that she had been hit so hard her eardrum was punctured. "I have an understanding, a knowing. I feel like I have something that I can impart to these women," the actress revealed during a 2015 event benefitting the Jenesse Center, a national domestic violence prevention and intervention organization. "It seems like I've overcome it, but I really haven't. In the quiet of my mind, I still struggle. So while I'm helping these women, I'm helping myself through it, too."
"I was [sexually] abused as a result of it, and I still deal with these issues," Feldman told PEOPLE of childhood fame. "It has been a very rough road for me." However, the actor puts on a brave face for his 12-year-old son, Zen. "I have to be a positive influence on him, and I've got to stay strong for him," he continued, referencing the hateful comments he received following his recent Today performance. "No matter how mean and awful people can be, I can't let that affect me."
The performer opened up to PEOPLE about the traumatizing experience of being married to her first husband, Michael Gambino, who physically and emotionally abused her. Easily angered and frequently jealous, "he'd come home at 3 o'clock in the morning and pick me up out of bed, throw me onto the ground and start yelling and hitting," said Kramer, who hid bruises with makeup and kept the abuse hidden from family and friends. "I'm so embarrassed and afraid no one will love me because of my past, but I'm ready to put it out there now," said Kramer, who is eager to use her experience to help other abused women. "If I can help one person, I'll be thankful for what happened – and I can move forward."
Days after the lewd Donald Trump tape was leaked, the actress opened up about her own experience with sexual assault — describing in vivid detail an encounter she had with her ex-boyfriend in public. "To this day I remember that moment. I remember the shame," she wrote on Instagram. "I am afraid my mom will read this post. I'm even more afraid that my father could ever know this story. That it would break his heart. I couldn't take that. But you understand, don't you? I needed to tell a story."
"The person that I'm singing to is the person that wants to heal me — I'm telling them they can't," the singer said of her song "'Til It Happens to You," which she wrote and recorded alongside Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape on college campuses. "I am so sick of people walking in and out of my life, telling me that I'm gonna be okay, because I am still in so much pain that you can't understand," she said, citing her rape at the age of 19. "Every time I sing that song it's difficult for me." Gaga explained that working with Warren — who said she, too, was molested, at the age of 12 — on the song was empowering for both of the artists: "It became two women together, standing strong."
During an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?, Vincent — who competed on The Biggest Loser in 2008 — told the TV host of being sexually assaulted in 2015 while getting a message. "I was just like in shock, like what's going on, what's happening? And then I just jumped up and I ran out and just hid," she said of the experience, which she tearfully recounted for the first time. "And I was sitting there in a ball and I was just shaking, and I don't know how to explain it. But I just was so afraid. I was scared." She added: "I haven't talked about it because it's not something you just talk about. A lot of things have changed over the last couple of years in my life. I moved here, to Northern California," said Vincent, who most recently gained almost all of the 112 lbs. she had lost on the fitness show competition. "My routine completely changed. I've realized, over the last year, as I've gained this weight, it was so much of my life slowed down, that a lot of stuff came up that I just hadn't dealt with."
After photos of her bruised face were leaked online in 2009, the singer made the decision to tell her story during an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Oprah's Next Chapter. One of the standout moments of the sit-down? Rihanna revealing that she had chosen to forgive ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. "I have to move on and as I said, it happened to me. I can't tell people how to feel about it," she said, adding that she came to that decision after making amends with her estranged father, who had inflicted similar violence on the singer's mother years before. "They're entitled to feel angry because it wasn't a good thing. I have forgiven him and that's my personal thing."