Evan Rachel Wood has posted a letter on Twitter in which she speaks plainly about her experiences of sexual assault for the first time, saying: “Yes, I have been raped.”
The Westworld actor said that she had previously never felt comfortable talking publicly about the abuse, but that she “[doesn’t] believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer… Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism”.
Wood initially wrote the letter to American journalist Alex Morris, who interviewed her for a story in Rolling Stone magazine in which she alluded to the fact that she had been sexually assaulted.
During the interview, Wood said that she had been subjected to “physical, psychological and sexual abuse” in the past, but declined to go into details.
However, the day after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Wood emailed Morris confirming that she had twice survived sexual assault.
“To answer your blunt question bluntly, yes, I have been raped,” wrote the 29-year-old star of films including Thirteen and The Ides of March. “By a significant other while we were still together, and on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar.”
That snippet made it into the Rolling Stone feature. But the rest of Wood’s letter, in which she explains why she had never spoken about her experience of sexual abuse until now, was cut – prompting Wood to post the full version on Twitter.
“The first time I was unsure that if it was done by a partner it was still in fact rape, until too late,” reads the longer email. “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”.
Wood 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,” she added.
Wood went on to explain why she had initially been reluctant to talk about her experiences of sexual abuse, saying that “like a lot of women, I had the urge not to make it a sob story, to not make it about me”.
Deep down, she said, she “also didn’t want to be accused of doing it for attention, or told it wasn’t a big deal, or ‘That’s not really rape’.”
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Wood continued: “I will not be ashamed. I will also not project some false idea of being completely over it because ‘I am so strong’... It should be talked about because its [sic] swept under the rug as nothing and I will not accept this as ‘normal’.
“I am still standing. I am alive. I am happy. I am strong. But I am still not ok. I think it’s important for people to know that, for survivors to own that, and that the pressure to just get over it already, should be lifted.”
Wood joins other Hollywood actresses including Amber Heard and Rose McGowan who have spoken out about their experiences of assault. In October, McGowan posted a string of tweets explaining why, as a young woman, she also did not report her rapist to police.
Heard, meanwhile, recently appeared in an emotional video talking about her experiences of domestic violence.
Images: Rex Features