*Angela Bassett hosted this year’s The Rape Foundation Annual Brunch, which was emceed by actors David Schwimmer and Eric McCormack.
The annual star-studded event “funds comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment for sexual assault victims-children and adults-including 24-hour emergency medical treatment and forensic services, advocacy, professional counseling, and court accompaniment,” per BroadwayWorld.
Prior to hosting the brunch, Bassett opened up about her own experience with sexual violation as a young girl. She recalled the time her mother’s boyfriend entered her bedroom while she was sleeping and fondled her breasts.
“Fortunately, it wasn’t a complete assault, it was fondling, but it was devastating enough for a child who’s 12 or 13,” Bassett told reporters at the event on Sunday afternoon.
Luckily, her mother believed her and took action.
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“Thankfully, to have a mother who could tell as soon as light broke that this happened and for her to expel him,” Bassett said. “That she heard me, believed me, and did something about it, I think was so empowering for me as a young teen, as a young woman.”
As the mother of a teenage boy and twin girls, Bassett also explained that she’s been teaching her children to respecting boundaries since they were toddlers, Variety reports.
“I started that early because of experiences with friends and I know that they will be in situations one day,” she continued. “When a girl says no, both to him and to her, she means no. Back up. She has to say come here, kiss me.”
Eric McCormack also had this to say to parents having reservations about speaking to their children about sexual assault.
“We have a 17-year-old and so the whole idea of consent over the last few years has been a conversation,” McCormack said. “I think it really does come down to — I was talking about this with Gail (Abarbanel, founder and director of the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House UCLA) the other day — about educating young men. I think it’s happening in the schools, some of them. Certainly, in our kid’s school. But in terms of advice, I think the biggest thing I’d have to work on with everybody is self-esteem and being strong enough to say no, to call for help. Nobody has the right to abuse you.”