Jane Fonda is opening up about painful experiences from her past.
In an interview with Brie Larson for The EDIT, the Grace and Frankie star, 79, 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 said that her difficult past led her to become such a passionate activist for women’s rights. The actress is an active supporter of the V-Day movement, which works to stop violence against women and girls. In 2001, she established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, which aims to help prevent teen pregnancy.
“I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said ‘no’ the wrong way,’ ” she said.
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.”
Fonda has never been shy in talking about her difficult past. The actress previously revealed that her mother had been sexually abused and later committed suicide when Fonda was 12.
“One of the most important things that I learned is that [my mother] had been sexually abused,” Jane said in an episode of Oprah’s Master Class. “Everything fell into place.”
During her interview with Larson, Fonda also opened up about her own parenting regrets.
“I regret that I wasn’t a better parent,” she said. “I didn’t know how to do it. But you can learn, so I studied how to be a parent. It’s never too late. I am trying to make up for what I didn’t know before. When I die, I want my family to be around me. I want them to love me and I have to earn that. I’m still working at it.”
The two stars also discussed feminism in Hollywood during their candid discussion to commemorate International Women’s Day. Larson said she had to learn how to say no to projects in order to focus on the work she is truly passionate about.
“I’ve learned the only power I have in my career is the word no,’ said Larson. ‘I couldn’t choose the jobs I got, but I could say no to jobs that weren’t right for me.’
Fonda admitted that it took her nearly “60 years to learn to say no.”
“If anyone offered me anything I would say yes. I took parts I wasn’t right for and I was taken advantage of,” she admitted. “I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Now, I would say, ‘No. This is a piece of s—. I don’t like the way you’re treating me,” and leave. If only I had known then what I do now.”