Hollywood actress Evan Rachel Wood just spoke out about her experiences of rape in the past to change the laws for victims in the future...
The past 12 months have seen a watershed year for women, with antiquated laws and social norms being called out and real efforts being made to implement change.
The latest high profile name to come forward is Hollywood actress Evan Rachel Wood.
‘Being raped once made it easier to be raped again,’ she posted to her Twitter followers last year in support of the Me Too movement. ‘I instinctually shut down. My body remembered, so it protected me. I disappeared. #metoo.’
This week, she went further, pushing Congress to implement the 2016 Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act in every state.
Appearing at Capitol Hill alongside Rebecca O’Connor, Vice President of the Rape Abuse Incest National Network and Amanda Nguyen and Lauren Libby, from the nonprofit organisation, Rise, Evan opened up about her own horrific experience of rape in an effort to help others.
‘It started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, [and] waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,’ she announced. ‘And the worst part: Sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proven my love for them.’
‘In this moment, being tied up and being beaten and told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die. Not just because my abuser said to me, “I could kill you right now,” but because in that moment I felt like I left my body and I was too afraid to run. He would find me.’
She continued: ‘Seven years after my rapes — plural — I was diagnosed with long term PTSD. Which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition. I simply thought I was going crazy. I struggled with self-harm to the point of two suicide attempts, which landed me in a psychiatric hospital for a short period of time. This was, however, a turning point in my life when I started seeking professional help to deal with my trauma and mental stress. But others are not so fortunate, and because of this rape is often more than a few minutes of trauma, but slow death.’
Campaigning to preserve the rights of survivors, stopping them from being made to pay for rape kits and ensuring that their forensic evidence is preserved, she concluded: ‘[This bill is] the recognition of basic civil rights for sexual-assault survivors and serves as a first step. It’s a safety net that may help save someone’s life one day.’