"I had a very, very bad experience," Riverdale star Camila Mendes told Women's Health

2018 CW Network Upfront
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If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.

Camila Mendes is coming forward as a survivor of sexual assault.

The Riverdale star, 25, covers the October issue of Women’s Health and opens up about the attack for the first time.

Mendes said that while a freshman at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was slipped a date rape drug known as a “roofie.”

I had a very, very bad experience,” said Mendes, 25. “I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.”

Blinking back tears, Mendes did not tell the magazine any more details about her attacker or what happened. She did get a tattoo above her rib cage in cursive lettering that reads, “to build a home” — an ethos she said “reminds her to strengthen both her sense of self and the environment around her,” according to Women’s Health.

Camila Mendes Women's Health
Camila Mendes
| Credit: Beau Grealy

“I’ve always, always wanted nothing more than stability,” said Mendes, who moved 12 times before the age of 18 due to a combination of her parents’ divorce and her dad’s career.

“Moving around throughout my whole childhood was a bit traumatic. You’re constantly saying goodbye to people, and you’re constantly being removed from your identity. When you start to feel like you’re connecting with a group of people, an environment, and a home — a physical home— it can be destabilizing when you’re uprooted and taken somewhere else,” she added.

To offset that, Mendes now lives her life by routine. She even makes sure that when she travels, she stays at the same hotels and visits the same cafés, yoga classes and Pilates studios.

“If you don’t have that literal box, you have to create it in your habits,” she said.

Camila Mendes Women's Health
Credit: Beau Grealy

Mendes isn’t the first Riverdale star to open up about sexual assault.

Amid the #MeToo movement, Mendes’ costar Lili Reinhart wrote an emotional Tumblr post, revealing that when she was a teenager, a “significantly older” male co-worker “tried to force himself on me when we were on a date.”

“I feel the need to share a story of my own personal experience where a man in a position of power over me, used that said power to try and take advantage of me,” wrote Reinhart, 22, in October 2017. “[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.”

Reinhart concluded her post with a rallying call for victims to fight back against their accusers.

“I’m coming forward about my own experience to further express how common these assaults are in this industry and how important it is that we take action to fight against it,” she said.

ELLE's Annual Women In Television Celebration 2017
Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes
| Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Also in her Women’s Health cover story, Mendes spoke out about her ongoing battle with bulimia, revealing, “I’ve only recently gotten better.”

For help, Mendes looked to a therapist and a nutritionist. “I needed professionals I trusted to tell me things that I didn’t know,” she said.

She also found that being honest with with her Riverdale fans — many of whom shared their own struggles with food issues — kept her motivated and accountable.

“When I was a teenager, there were no role models when it came to body positivity,” Mendes said. “That simply was not a thing. Being thin was the thing.”

“It’s health that’s important, not appearance,” she continued. “I make choices that are good for me — and not just in my body — but for my soul, for my mind. And sometimes that’s eating ice cream because I want to eat ice cream.”

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.