Reese Witherspoon Shared That She Was Assaulted By a Director at Age 16

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After a week or so of devastating sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, actresses across the globe have been speaking out and sharing their own stories of abuse and misconduct.

During the Elle Women in Hollywood event sponsored by Calvin Klein and L’Oréal Paris, Reese Witherspoon joined the long list of females sharing their stories.

Witherspoon shared, “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 truth. 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.”

Witherspoon went on to share, “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.”

In 2012, Witherspoon launched Pacific Standard, with the aim of “seeing different, dynamic women on film.” Since then, she’s gone on to produce “Big Little Lies,” “Wild,” and “Gone Girl” among others.

Witherspoon concluded her speech by saying, “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.”