Published Oct 17, 2017In light of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Reese Witherspoon has come forward to share her own experiences with sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.
The actress was on hand at ELLE's Women in Hollywood event last night (October 16) to present honours to her Big Little Lies co-star Laura Dern, and she used her time onstage to open up about the harsh realities of the industry.
Witherspoon said that in recent weeks she had been burdened with anxiety and guilt for not speaking up sooner or taking action, before revealing that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16.
She expressed "true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment."
Unfortunately, she went on to reveal that the first instance was far from her only traumatic experience in Hollywood.
"I wish I could tell you that that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly, it wasn't," she added. "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, the things that we're kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it's made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I felt less alone this week than I've ever felt in my entire career."
Witherspoon labelled other women in the industry "brave" for sharing their stories, especially in the past couple of weeks, and said that she felt "very encouraged" by those in attendance at the event, who she described as having "created a community of people who are champions now of a new attitude toward harassment in our industry and every industry that's going to address the abuse of power in this business and every business."
Read her impassioned speech in its entirety here via ELLE.
Witherspoon is the latest actor to come forth to shed light on rampant sexual misconduct in Hollywood, following the likes of Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Terry Crews, Rob Schneider, Cara Delevigne, Rose McGowan and James Van Der Beek.