America Ferrera Says She Was Sexually Assaulted at Age 9
The TV actress, 33, shared her story as part of the growing #MeToo movement.
America Ferrera has added her voice to the growing list of women, from Hollywood and everywhere else alike, who are speaking out about sexual harassment and assault in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's alleged abuse.
Spurred by the #MeToo movement that was started by Alyssa Milano on Sunday, the 33-year-old star of NBC's Superstore took to her Instagram account Monday night to reveal that she was sexually assaulted by a man she knew when she was nine years old.
“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.”
Ferrera continued, “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.”
She concluded her post by asking women to "break the silence so the next generation of girls won’t have to live with this bullshit."
Ferrera began her post as a "Me too" response, a growing social media movement sparked in the wake of decades of allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Weinstein. Over the weekend, Milano put out a call for anyone who has ever been sexually harassed or assaulted to reply to her Twitter post with those two words.
"While I am sickened and angered over the disturbing accusations of Weinstein's sexual predation and abuse of power," she wrote. "I'm happy — ecstatic even — that it has opened up a dialogue around the continued sexual harassment, objectification and degradation of women."
In the first 24 hours since she posted the call, the hashtag #MeToo was tweeted nearly a half a million times, according to Twitter. Debra Messing, Anna Paquin, Patricia Arquette, Evan Rachel Wood, Rosario Dawson, Natasha Lyonne, Tatiana Maslany, Jenny Slate, Lady Gaga and Gabrielle Union are just some of the Hollywood names who have tweeted the hashtag.
More than 40 women have come out to allege sexual harassment or assault against Weinstein since the New York Times first broke the story Oct. 5.