Reese Witherspoon shares story of harassment: A director assaulted me at 16

Reese Witherspoon has found it hard to sleep this past week because, as she says, she's been forced to remember a lot of "ugly truths."

At the Women in Hollywood event Monday night, sponsored by Calvin Klein and L'Oreal, Witherspoon spoke from the podium about how allegations against embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have made her think about her own history in Hollywood.

"I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often," she shared at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, before introducing her friend, honoree Laura Dern. 

"I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly. And I have found it hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate (these last few days)," she said. "A lot of the feelings I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest."

What came flooding back to Witherspoon?

"The director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old," which "wasn't an isolated incident in my career," she said, and the "anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition at my employment."

Witherspoon continued, "Hearing all of the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak out tonight about things 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." 

The actress and producer vowed to help create a "community of people who are champions now of a new attitude towards harassment in our industry."

"I feel really, truly encouraged that there’s gonna be a new normal," she added.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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