Reese Witherspoon Reveals She Was Underage When She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Director



The 'Big Little Lies' actress opens up on her own experience with sexual assault during a star-studded event which she attends with her teen daughter.
More and more actresses opened up on their stories with sexual harassment and assault once the floodgate in Hollywood opened following the explosive Harvey Weinstein scandal. Reese Witherspoon was one of the latest stars to share her trauma.

Attending the ELLE Women in Hollywood event with he look-alike daughter Ava, the 41-year-old star recalled her younger days as an aspiring actress trying to make it in the industry. She revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was a minor.

"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," she said during her acceptance speech at the Beverly Hilton Monday.

"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," the "Big Little Lies" star went on.

"[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," she continued. "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," she added.

"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."


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