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Ashley Judd pens beautiful open letter to sexual assault survivors everywhere

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Kayleigh Dray
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Ashley Judd

“Healing is our birth right,” says Ashley Judd. “It was not our birth right to be sexually harassed or assaulted or raped.”

Ashley Judd was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. In doing so, she helped to light the fuse of the #MeToo campaign, in which people used the hashtag to reveal they had been victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Now, she has a message for all of those #MeToo survivors: “We can heal.”

Reading from an open letter at an event hosted by the Tribeca Festival and the Time’s Up movement, Judd spoke of a time when she was sexually assaulted in high school, a crime she said she doesn’t remember but was reported to police.

“I was wearing a green and gold cheerleader’s uniform, my mother tells me,” the actress said. “It was in a local store and I have no memory of that crime.”

Judd continued: “Healing is our birth right. It was not our birth right to be sexually harassed or assaulted or raped… [but] it is our birth right to know in our bones that it wasn’t our fault.

“We humans hurt each other and sometimes we hurt ourselves, but we can make decisions and take actions that free us.” 

According to Page Six, Judd went on to say that “our rage has become our strength, our energy and our motivation”.

She finished by stating: “What was depression becomes expression and self-pity and help are transformed into dignity, integrity and courage.

“There will still be the hard days… but we know our preciousness and our fierceness. Healing … is our birth right.”

Twenty years ago, Judd was a young actress filming the movie Kiss The Girls when she said Weinstein invited her to a Beverly Hills hotel for a “business meeting”.

Speaking to ABC News, she recalled: “I had a business appointment which is as – that’s, you know, his pattern of sexual predation. That was how he rolled.”

When she got to Weinstein’s room, Judd said the now-disgraced producer asked to give her a massage and then asked for her to give him one, she added.

“I fought with this volley of ‘no’s,’ which he ignored,” Judd said. “Who knows? Maybe he heard them as ‘maybe.’ Maybe he heard them as ‘yeses.’ Maybe they turned him on.”

At one point during the encounter, Weinstein asked her to come into the bathroom and watch him take a shower. “Totally frozen” and sickened by the experience, Judd offered a sort of deal to Weinstein to get him to back off so she could leave.

“He kept coming back at me with all this other stuff,” she said. “And finally I just said, ‘When I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, when you get nominated.’ I said, ‘No, when I win an Oscar.’ And then I just fled.”

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Judd first came forward with these allegations last year in an interview with the New York Times. She had also previously shared these allegations in a 2015 interview with Variety, though she didn’t name Weinstein at that time.

More than 90 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct; the BBC reported that in November New York police said they had a viable case against him.

Weinstein continues to deny all allegations made against him, with his spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, telling the Times: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.

“He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counselling and rebuilding his life.”

For more news on Harvey Weinstein, click here

Image: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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