Original February 02/02/2021: On the evening of February 1, actress Evan Rachel Wood posted a statement on Instagram that named the abuser she has spoken about without identifying for many years. In her post, Wood alleges that her former fiancé, artist and musician Marilyn Manson abused her during their relationship.
"The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson," she wrote in her post. "He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent."
Wood and Manson's relationship first became public in 2007. Manson was 36-years-old at the time while Wood was 19. The couple briefly became engaged in 2010 but separated later that year.
As well as sharing her own statement, Wood has reshared a number of accounts from other women. These accounts detail alleged abuse from Manson that ranged across emotional, sexual and physical. During the height of the #MeToo movement in 2018, a police report was filed against Manson alleging "unspecified sex crimes dating back to 2011," though his attorney denied the allegations.
Many of the women's stories shared by Wood claim that Manson employed manipulation techniques like "love bombing," in which an abuser floods their target with affection, gifts, special treatment, and declarations of love and adoration during the early stages of a relationship. This becomes both a way to overcome someone's initial self-protective defences, as well as something to weaponise and withdraw when an abuser doesn't get their way.
This type of coercive control is not only limited to abusers who have money, fame or status, either—but those factors can of course also play into the unequal balance of power and control.
Wood has mentioned being sexually assaulted in the past. In a letter to Rolling Stone that Wood wrote in 2016, she shared: "I have been raped. By a significant other while we were together, and on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar."
"The first time I was unsure that if it was done by a partner it was still in fact rape, until too late," Wood wrote, "Also who would believe me."
Wood also spoke in detail about the situation to Harper's BAZAAR US in 2019.
"I get a lot of people asking why I haven't named my abuser," Wood said at the time. "Part of my story is that I'm too afraid, and I forgive myself for that, and I know that's not my fault. I don't feel safe. And that's one of the reasons I wrote the Phoenix Act. So when people ask why I haven't named my abuser, it's because I can't. I just don't feel safe enough, and that's part of the problem."
"I mean, he definitely knows that I'm talking about him, I'm sure he's caught wind of it, and that's a terrifying thought. But again, the reason that I really decided to go [public] with this was because I found out he had abused other women. That changed everything. It helped me feel stronger, because it wasn't just about me—I'm not just fighting for me anymore."
At this stage, at least four women have come forward with detailed accounts and allegations of the abuse Manson perpetrated against them. He has been dropped from his record label, but is so far yet to comment.
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or coercive control please contact the 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Service (1800 737 732).