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Evan Rachel Wood details her harrowing history of sexual abuse

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Susan Devaney
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Evan Rachel Wood is continuing to fight for other sexual abuse survivors by standing before Congress. 

Evan Rachel Wood has long been vocal in her participation of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative, and she’s taken her involvement in implementing change by appearing before Congress.

Along with two other sexual abuse survivors, the Westworld actress appeared before Congress to fight for the implementation of the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act across the country, in all 50 states.

“I’m here today to use my position as an artist, survivor, mother, and advocate to bring a human voice to the population of 25 million survivors in the U.S. who are currently experiencing inequality under the law and who desperately need basic civil rights,” Wood said.

Detailing some of her own harrowing experiences of sexual and domestic abuse from her previous partner, Wood recounted how she thought it possible he might kill her.

“In this moment, being tied up and being beaten and told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die. Not just because my abuser said to me, ‘I could kill you right now,’ but because in that moment I felt like I left my body and I was too afraid to run. He would find me,” Wood said. 

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was signed into law in 2016. The law states that no one can be denied (or charged) for a forensic examination. Furthermore, if a rape kit is used then the results must be kept for 20 years. However, this law is only applicable on federal level, which is why Wood and others are fighting for it to be instated across every state in America.

Wood went onto to explain the horrific aftermath sexual abuse survivors have to endure, by detailing her own experience. “Seven years after my rapes - plural - I was diagnosed with long term PTSD, which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition. I simply thought I was going crazy.”

“I struggled with self-harm to the point of two suicide attempts, which landed me in a psychiatric hospital for a short period of time,” Wood further explained. “This was, however, a turning point in my life when I started seeking professional help to deal with my trauma and mental stress. But others are not so fortunate, and because of this, rape is often more than a few minutes of trauma, but slow death.”

Last year, Wood released a 14-minute YouTube video, entitled I Am Here To Tell You That I’m Afraid, explaining why she will never disclose the name of her rapists: “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 continued: “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’s courage and bravery in continuing the conversation and fighting for a safer country for women is nothing short of exemplary.

Images: Rex Features / Twitter