*More famous women have come forward with their own stories of sexual abuse in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s ballooning sexual harassment scandal.
America Ferrera, the 33-year-old star of NBC’s “Superstore” took to Instagram Monday night to reveal that she was sexually assaulted at age 9 by a man she knew.
“First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9-years-old,” she wrote. “I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man.”
Ferrera continued, “I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come. He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew — that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back.”
She ended her post by asking women to “break the silence so the next generation of girls won’t have to live with this bullsh*t.”
Also on Monday night, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, 41, was speaking at
Elle’s Women in Hollywood event when she revealed she was sexually assaulted by a director at age 16. She also said it wasn’t the only time she’d experienced inappropriate behavior in her career, adding that she felt ashamed for staying silent.
“[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,” Witherspoon said. “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.”
“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 that are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” Witherspoon continued. “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, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier, for not taking action.”
She added, “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 actually I felt less alone this week than I have felt in my entire career. 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 to 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 have your back and it makes me feel better because, gosh, it’s about time. … I’m so sad that I have to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to,” she said.