Reese Witherspoon Reveals She Was Sexually Assaulted at 16, Plus: Jennifer Lawrence’s Experience
Last night, actress Reese Witherspoon came forward with her own sexual assault story at the Elle Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles.
During her speech at the star-studded event, Reese revealed that she experienced sexual assault for the first time when she was a teenager. She said, “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, honestly, the guilt for not speaking up earlier. [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.”
"And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn't,” Witherspoon continued. "I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don't speak about them very often.”
Witherspoon noted that many women are “told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about” situations like this and went on to praise all the women who have been speaking up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. She said, "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.”
At the same event, Jennifer Lawrence also opened up about her “humiliating” experience when she first started acting, saying, "When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks.”
Along with the weight, Lawrence was asked to strip down nude. She explained, "During this time, a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me. We are stood side by side with only tape on covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
After sharing her concerns to another producer, he made an inappropriate comment to her. She shared, "He said he didn't know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was 'perfectly f**kable.'”
The 27-year-old admitted that she felt “trapped," saying, "I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt I had to for my career… Every human being should have the power to be treated with respect because they're human.”
Last week, Lawrence revealed that she was “deeply disturbed” after hearing about the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, whose former company The Weinstein Company released her film “Silver Linings Playbook." She said, "I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”
"My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward,” Jennifer added.