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Evan Rachel Wood wants you to understand why she hasn’t named her rapists

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Kayleigh Dray
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Evan Rachel Wood has released a powerful video message to her fans, in a bid to help them understand why she has made the names of her rapists public.



The list of allegations against Harvey Weinstein is growing steadily longer, as more and more women come forward to accuse the Hollywood producer of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct.

Many have asked how, if true, such an abuse of power could have gone on for so many years – and why the women took so long to share their stories.

So, in a bid to help others understand why coming forward with allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse is easier said than done, Westworld’s Wood has decided to share her own reasons for keeping her rapists’ names out of the public eye.

In the 14-minute video, which Wood has titled I Am Here To Tell You That I’m Afraid, the actor explains: “In many cases, when women come forth with a story about sexual assault or sexual harassment, people are very quick to try to discredit them or knock them down or look for any sign of foul play or any reason not to believe them.”

She continues: “People are wondering why women don't come forward sooner or why they come out in numbers. It's because it's safer. They do not feel safe enough to do so, period.”



Wood goes on to explain: “I have not named my abusers. Not because I don't plan on saying these people's names eventually, but because to start that process is an emotionally draining, financially draining, really everything draining thing to do and to go through and I want to do it when I have –when I'm ready.”

She does add, though, that her alleged abusers are “very powerful, very rich, very entitled, very narcissistic white men,” and that she is waiting to name names because she's just one person, and because she's afraid of how a public trial or accusation would impact her career, finances, and personal life.

“To go after the person that assaulted you takes quite a toll,” says Wood. “It is a terrifying thing to have to go through," she said. "Mainly because you're at risk of not being believed, your career being hurt, you being drained of your finances. Because it costs a lot of money to file a lawsuit and to go to court with somebody.

“Especially if all you have is your word against theirs.”

Evan Rachel Wood admits that she is "afraid" to go public with her rapists' names

Evan Rachel Wood admits that she is "afraid" to go public with her rapists' names

Wood first revealed that she had been the victim of rape in a letter to American journalist Alex Morris, who interviewed her for a story in Rolling Stone magazine.

“To answer your blunt question bluntly, yes, I have been raped,” she wrote. “By a significant other while we were still together, and on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar.

“The first time I was unsure that if it was done by a partner it was still in fact rape, until too late. Also who would believe me.”

After she was raped for the second time, Wood said that she “thought it was my fault and that I should have fought back more, but I was scared”.

The actor was hospitalised after a suicide attempt in her early twenties, and said that both rapes occurred “many many years ago… before I tried to commit suicide”.

“I of course know now neither one was my fault and neither one was ok,” Wood added.

It is believed that only 15.8 to 35% of all sexual assaults are reported to the police

If you or someone you know has experienced any form of sexual violence and don’t know what to do, here are the charities that can help.


Rape Crisis
A network of centres and support groups throughout the UK. Their website carries clear information about current rape laws, and they can refer you to a local support centre for counselling or independent advice.

0808 802 9999; rapecrisis.org.uk


Women Against Rape
Providing emotional and legal support, legal information, advocacy and self-help information for victims of sexual assault. They are particularly good at offering support to women who are unsure of their rights after an attack has been reported to the police. 

020 7482 2496; womenagainstrape.net


The Survivors Trust

An umbrella agency partnered with more than 135 support groups and organisations throughout the UK. Their website provides information on the long-term effects that victims can suffer, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as online resources for abuse survivors.

01788 550554; thesurvivorstrust.org


Refuge
As well as running a number of refuges throughout the UK and centres for gender-based violence, this organisation operates a 24-hour domestic violence helpline which offers support and advice. Their Independent Domestic Violence Advocates provide expert guidance for women going through civil and criminal courts.

0808 2000 24; refuge.org.uk

Images: Rex Features