The actress shared her story on Instagram
Ugly Betty and Superstore star America Ferrera shared a heartbreaking story about the first time she was sexually assaulted as part of the #MeToo social media campaign. Women across the world have taken to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram this week to share their painful recollections of the first time they were sexually harassed and/or assaulted.
The “Me Too” slogan was created 10 years ago by activist Tarana Burke to jumpstart a “grassroots movement to aid sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities ‘where rape crisis centers and sexual assault workers weren’t going.’” But as the countless sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein came out more women in Hollywood felt comfortable finally sharing their stories. Including actress Alyssa Milano, who tweeted the hashtag #MeToo Sunday night. It went viral fast, but days later women all over the world are still writing about their sexual assault experiences on social media.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Ferrera shared a note on Instagram that detailed the first time she was sexually abused. “First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9-years-old,” she wrote. “I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man.” More often than not, the victim — especially when it is a child — feels like the assault was their fault, which is another reason why lots of survivors of abuse don’t report their attacks.
Sadly, the actress was forced to see her attacker often. Ferrera explained: “I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come. He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew — that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back.” We can’t imagine the amount of courage it took for Ferrera to survive that situation. By sharing her story, the actress has joined the thousands of women who’ve spoken out about being abused including Gabrielle Union, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Paquin.
Each year in the United States, an average of 321,500 people age 12 or older report being raped and sexually assaulted, according to the Department of Justice. But we all know that number is much, much higher. The #MeToo campaign only further proved that point this week. Our collective decision to speak out about it will ideally help end the rampant attack on girls and women.
As Ferrera said, “Ladies, let’s break the silence so the next generation of girls won’t have to live with this bulls**t.”