Reese Witherspoon has bravely spoken out about sexual assault in Hollywood and revealed she was just 16 when it happened to her for the first time.
The 41-year-old actress attended the Elle Women in Hollywood event and reflected on women's experiences in the film industry in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Part of her speech said, '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 are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths.'
She 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, honesty, the guilt for not speaking up earlier.'
'[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 added.
'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. But 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.'
Witherspoon’s comments come after dozens of women came forward in recent weeks to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie. Eight women spoke out against Weinstein in a bombshell New York Times report accusing the movie mogul of inappropriate behavior. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.
Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to 'deal with this issue head-on.' He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, The Weinstein Company, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.