Reese Witherspoon Says She Was Assaulted by a Director at 16

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Reese Witherspoon Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence was not the only A-list actress to share her story of sexual harassment at the Elle Women in Hollywood event last night. Reese Witherspoon said that a director assaulted her when she was 16 years old. Per People:

“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, honest, 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. 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 said she felt “less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career,” when thousands of people shared their experiences with sexual assault and harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
And though it’s really, really hard to find a positive spin in all of this, Witherspoon did her best by concluding: “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’re with you, we have your back and it makes me feel better. It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”

Reese Witherspoon Says She Was Assaulted by a Director at 16