Reese Witherspoon reveals sexual assault at 16
Reese Witherspoon has come forward about her own harrowing sexual assault experience amid mounting allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The 41-year-old, who began her acting career as a child, revealed at the Elle Women in Hollywood event on Monday that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was just 16.
“(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,” she said at the event, according to People.
“And I wish that 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.”
Witherspoon decided to make her comments after calling it “a really hard week for women” in Hollywood — and all over the world.
The “Big Little Lies” producer and star said that her experiences came back to her vividly after so many women shared their stories of sexual harassment and assault, People reported.
“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, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier,” she said at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
“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 I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career,” she continued.
Witherspoon, who was 16 in 1993, starred in three projects at the time, “A Far Off Place,” “Jack the Bear” and the TV mini-series, “Return to Lonesome Dove.”
It is unclear if the director who she claims sexually assaulted her was directing one of the movies or TV shows in which she starred.
Dozens of women have come forward accusing film producer Weinstein of sexual harassment in the past few weeks, including actresses Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow. Rose McGowan and a few other women even allege the Hollywood honcho raped them.