Reese Witherspoon has spoken out about the importance of the #TimesUp movement and the desperate need to address sexual harassment and abuse at a powerful discussion at the United Nations in New York on International Women’s Day.
Drawing upon her own experiences, Witherspoon recounted how she had felt too afraid to speak up after she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16-years-old.
“There has been a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse in our industry, including myself, when I was 16 years old I was assaulted by a director on a movie,” she told the audience, news.com.au reports.
“I think one of the things I understood was a condition upon employment and the opportunities I had was silence.
“And with the revelations so many women have been assaulted, discriminated against and generally had to be quiet for fear of losing opportunity and a job, we decided we were all in it together.”
During the discussion, Witherspoon explained how the #TimesUp campaign had helped empower countless women—including herself.
“It started out in October with 40 women in a room just talking about this problem and how we were going to deal with it, because enough is enough,” Witherspoon said.
“We are no longer going to be harassed, we are no longer going to be mistreated or discriminated against. We are going to create more opportunity for each other.”
The Wrinkle In Time star has told Marie Claire that she isn’t shocked by the stories of sexual harassment in Hollywood and other industries around the world.
“Sadly, I don’t find any of this shocking. Women have been sharing stories in each other’s living rooms and workplaces for as long as I’ve been a working woman,” Witherspoon explained.
“It is just incredible that the media and the world started believing us all and listening.”