In our culture, it’s not always easy to speak up about sexual assault. First, talking about being assaulted can bring the whole experience back to the victims. There’s also the fact that there can be shame attached to the incident — even though being assaulted is not the victim’s fault under any circumstances.
But when a celebrity talks openly about being assaulted, it can help heal the wounds of others who have gone through similar incidents. Assault can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t matter if you’re famous or not, it’s gutwrenching and life-changing no matter who you are. Celebs who step up, however, put faces and names to sexual assault, which opens up the conversation.
Being famous isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. These celebs are using their past traumas to help others.
Taylor Swift was sued by David Mueller, a then-radio DJ for KYGO, a country music radio station in Denver, Colorado, after Swift accused Mueller of groping her backstage at a concert in 2013. Mueller was subsequently fired by his employer.
But Swift wasn’t about to take Mueller’s suit sitting down. She filed a countersuit accusing Mueller of reaching up her dress and grabbing her butt as they posed for a photo.
“I’m not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault, because it isn’t,” Swift said in court in August 2017.
Abigail Breslin, who has long been an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, felt compelled to come forward about her own assault in April 2017 when one of her social media followers commented that “Reported rapes are the only rapes that count.”
“I did not report my rape. I didn’t report it because of many reasons,” Breslin wrote on social media with a trigger warning. “First off, I was in complete shock and denial. I didn’t want to view myself as a ‘victim’ so I suppressed it and pretended it never happened… Second of all, I was in a relationship with my rapist and feared not being believed. I also feared that if my case didn’t lead anywhere, he would still find out and hurt me even more.”
Breslin also revealed that she is still dealing with the trauma of what happened to her and was diagnosed with PTSD.
“To say that rapes reported are the only rapes that count contributes to the ideology that survivors of unreported rape don’t matter,” she wrote. “It’s unfair, untrue and unhelpful. It’s like you got a black eye from getting punched in the face, but because you didn’t call the police, you didn’t really get a black eye.. Unreported rapes count. Reported rapes count. End of story.”
In an interview on SiriusXM’s Stand Up! with Pete Dominick, Minnie Driver broke her silence on being sexually assaulted at 17 years old.
“I was on vacation in Greece,” she said, “and this guy kinda elbow-grabbed me and said, ‘You’re going to dance with me.’ I said ‘no,’ and I pulled my arm away from him, and he grabbed me by the back of my hair. I tried to kick him, and then he punched me.”
Not surprisingly, police blamed her for what happened.
“The way [the police] presented it was, ‘This guy was just having a good time, and if you’d gone along with it, it would’ve been fine. If you’d just danced with him, you wouldn’t be in this position that you’re in now.'”
In light of Donald Trump’s grotesquely sexist 2005 conversation with Billy Bushgoing public, Tamblyn was moved to share her own experience of sexual assault.
“I need to tell you a story,” she wrote in a deeply personal Instagram post. “A very long time ago I ended a long emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a man I had been with for some time. One night I was at a show with a couple girlfriends in Hollywood, listening to a DJ we all loved. I knew there was a chance my ex could show up, but I felt protected with my girls around me. Without going into all the of the details, I will tell you that my ex did show up, and came up to me in the crowd. He’s a big guy, taller than me. The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirtby my vagina — my pussy? — and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club. His fingers were practically inside of me, his other hand wrapped tightly around my hair. I screamed and kicked and cried. He carried me this way, suspended by his hands, all the way across the room, pushing past people until he got to the front door. My friends ran after him, trying to stop him. We got to the front door and I thank God his brothers were also there and intervened.
“In the scuffle he grabbed at my clothes, trying to hold onto me, screaming at me, and That part of my body, which the current Presidential Nominee of the United States Donald Trump recently described as something he’d like to grab a woman by, was bruised from my ex-boyfriend’s violence for at least the next week,” she continued. “To this day I remember that moment. I remember the shame. I am afraid my mom will read this post. I’m even more afraid that my father could ever know this story. That it would break his heart. I couldn’t take that. But you understand, don’t you? I needed to tell a story.”
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