Reese Witherspoon opened up about being sexually assualted at the age of 16 as she discussed the Harvey Weinstein expose at Monday night’s Elle Women in Hollywood event.
Witherspoon, 41, said that “it’s going to be a new world for young women,” because the long line of celebrities who have now spoken out will always have their backs.
She explained: “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.”
The Oscar winner 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, 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,” she added.
Witherspoon then went on to say that “she wishes it was an isolated incident in her career, but sadly it wasn’t.”
The star shared: “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.”
“I have just spoken to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. That truth is very encouraging to me and everyone out there in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth,” she went on.
“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,” Witherspoon concluded.
On Tuesday, Witherspoon took to social media to voice her thoughts on Monday night’s empowering event.
Witherspoon joins a long list of celebrities who have spoken out amid the numerous Harvey Weinstein sexual assault accusations.
Kate Winslet, 42, was one of many who addressed the claims, with her admitting she had no intention of thanking Weinstein while accepting the Best Actress gong for “The Reader” at the 2009 Academy Awards.
“I remember being told ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win.’ And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No I won’t. No I won’t,’” she revealed in an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. “And it was nothing to do with not being grateful.”
She insisted: “If people aren’t well-behaved, why would I thank him?”