Isabella Rossellini wants to leave the past in the past.
In a new interview with Vulture, the actress, 65, opened up about why she doesn’t feel comfortable telling her own #MeToo story. Rossellini said there is “no value” in naming the man who raped her as a teenager.
“I do understand the value for some people to talk about their experiences, but for me, there is no value,” she said. “The person that raped me — I was 15 or 16, he was a year older than I, why would I dig out this story 48 years later? What if people start to say, ‘No, you have to say the person’s name?'”
The Death Becomes Her star continued: “I don’t know what happened to him. He might be married. He might have children. I am a superstar in Italy. If I said who did this, I would destroy him.”
The actress said growing up in Italy, date rape was a common occurrence among young men and women. And while she certainly sees a need for change, she’s hesitant about singling out her rapist and “destroying” his life.
“This man hurt me in the context of a culture that we are all trying to change,” she explained. “I don’t think that pinpointing one person and destroying their life because they made a sin in the context of that culture — I don’t have the heart for it.”
Despite not wanting to talk about her own personal story, Rossellini stressed the importance and value of the #MeToo movement.
“Yes, for me, the interesting thing is how the #MeToo movement has shown us all the subtle ways women can be diminished,” she said. “Rape is a way of being hurt that everyone can recognize. There are other ways. It could be your boss saying, ‘I like your skirt on you.’ It’s a compliment, but it makes you feel diminished. It’s like when people say to me, ‘You look so good for your age.’ To hear other women express their stories and to show how devious some men can be — that is what has been so helpful to see.”
Rossellini said she is optimistic about the change that can happen in the future.
“I’m happy that we are talking about these issues because all women have been harassed, but it was never discussed before,” she continued. “We just lived with it. Even if you didn’t have anything violent happen to you, there was always a way for a man to belittle you. This is changing, I think. Men have to see they can’t behave in these ways.”
Her new illustrated book My Chickens and I is now available for purchase.