×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viola Davis on How Me Too Gives a Voice to Rape Victims of Color

While introducing Me Too founder Tarana Burke at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon on Friday, Viola Davis gave a passionate speech on how rape disproportionately affects black women and how Burke’s movement is helping the victims.

While introducing Burke to the stage, Davis called her a hero. “A hero is a person who lives a life bigger than themselves.”

She went on to name the many lasting effects of sexual assault, including depression, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts, saying that rape is often described as a “death.” “Usually that’s what it becomes. ‘Let me tell you about the day and the time that I died.’ She leaves her body, and the journey to becoming a survivor, an overcomer, to bringing your predator to justice, is a long road,” Davis said.

“And so if you can imagine how horrific that is, then also imagine that a black woman is 66% more likely to be assaulted again if she is raped before the age of 18,” she went on, noting that 77% of women who are sex-trafficked are women of color, “which is why, usually, nothing is done about it. More than likely, they’re not going to seek therapy because they’re going to be stigmatized. Stigmatized as being dirty. Stigmatized as being overly strong. Stigmatized as being not worthy at all.”

She then moved to Burke, who, Davis said, made it her goal to be the voice of those victims.

“If you can imagine, if you can wrap your mind around it, there is a rung lower that people see than being a woman,” Davis said. “And it’s being a woman of color.”

But, the Oscar-winner went on, Burke has helped give a new life to women affected by sexual assault, allowing them to “own their story.”

“Tarana has owned her story,” she continued. “And she’s allowing these young girls to own their story. And to still, despite the trauma, despite the heartache, despite the fact that something was taken from them, that day, that moment, that they could still lead a life of value. And my god, if that is not a golden lasso and a cape, I don’t know what is.”

In her recent interview with Variety for the Power of Women issue, Burke said Davis was one of the first to donate to the Me Too movement. Burke said Davis asked, “‘Has anybody given you money?’ I was like, ‘No we’re small operations.'” Burke continued, “She was like, ‘I’m giving you some money,’ and she’s gotten other actresses to give us some money.”

RELATED CONTENT

More Biz

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Reduces Losses

    Hong Kong Disneyland Reduces Losses

    The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort theme park remained in loss for the fourth year. But signs of improvement continued. For the financial year to end of September 2018, HKDL reported $769 million (HK$6 billion) of revenue, from 6.7 million visitors, an increase of 8%. Net losses fell from $32 million (HK$291 million) to $6.92 million [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content