- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Reese Witherspoon addressed the Harvey Weinstein scandal at the Elle Women in Hollywood awards Monday night, saying it has forced her to revisit her own experiences with sexual assault and harassment in the industry.

The 41-year-old actress revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a Hollywood director when she was just 16 years old.

“I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often,” Ms. Witherspoon said at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, California, USA Today reported.

“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, the guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action, true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old, and anger I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition at my employment.”

“And I wish I could tell you that that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly, it wasn’t,” she added.

At the same event, Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about the “degrading” experiences she went through as a young woman in Hollywood.

The 27-year-old actress, who was one of eight honorees at the Elle event, said a female producer had her stand in a naked lineup with several other women, “with only tape on covering our privates,” and then told she needed to lose weight, CNN reported.

Ms. Lawrence said she felt “trapped” by the experience.

“I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt I had to for my career,” she said.

“I’m still learning that I don’t have to smile when a man makes me uncomfortable,” she added. “Every human being should have the power to be treated with respect because they’re human.”

Dozens of women have come forward to detail their experiences of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry in the days following the downfall of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment, assault and rape by more than 40 women.

“In all of the sadness I think it’s been oddly unifying,” Ms. Lawrence said Monday night. “It’s so fundamental to the female experience to be mistreated and feel ashamed of it.”

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