Reese Witherspoon opened up about her own experience with sexual assault on Monday night.
Speaking at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event in Beverly Hills, the Oscar winner revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by a director when she was just 16 years old. She was also made to feel that “silence was a condition of my employment.”
“I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly, and I found it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate. A lot of the feelings I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action,” she said.
“True disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” Witherspoon, 41, added. “And I wish I could tell you that 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, the things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I felt less alone this week than I’ve ever felt in my entire career.”
Witherspoon’s remarks come in the wake of Harvey Weinstein being accused of harassing, assaulting, and raping multiple women over the course of several decades. Weinstein has since been fired from his company and stripped of many of his guild memberships.
Jennifer Lawrence also spoke at the event and revealed that she had been forced to do a nude line-up for a female producer who had bullied her to lose weight.
Read Witherspoon’s full speech here.