Evan Rachel Wood’s Powerful Letter About Rape Has An Important Message
by Hannah Marsh
In a letter to Rolling Stone Magazine, Evan Rachel Wood spoke about her traumatic experiences of sexual assault and the need to change the conversation around this topic.
HBO’s Westworld tends to have more trauma and darkness than your average show, and acting in a piece like that can be a serious challenge — emotionally and professionally. In a letter sent to Rolling Stone Magazine, Evan Rachel Wood discussed using her own traumatic experiences of abuse and sexual assault to influence her character, Dolores. Wood also released the entirety of the letter on Twitter, and while it’s heartbreaking to read, it’s SO significant that she shared.
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2016
“I started questioning my reasons for staying vague about my experiences as a girl growing up in America. I think, like a lot of women, I had the urge to not make it a sob story, to not make it about me.
I didn’t have to confirm what happened, what mattered is that shit happened.
That still affects me to this day.
I think deep down, I also didn’t want to be accused of doing it for attention, or told it wasn’t a big deal,
“That’s not really rape.”
I will not be ashamed. I will also not project some false idea of being completely over it because ‘I am so strong.’
I don’t believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer.
I certainly can’t.
Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism.
It should be talked about because its swept under the rug as nothing and I will not accept this as ‘normal.’
It’s a serious problem.
I am still standing. I am alive. I am happy. I am strong. But I am still not OK.
I think it’s important for people to know that, for survivors to own that, and that the pressure to just get over it already, should be lifted.
It will remind people of the damage that has been done and how the trauma of a few minutes can turn into a lifetime of fighting for yourself.
It’s not that you can’t get over it, it’s just that you are never the same, or maybe I just haven’t gotten there yet.
So to answer your blunt question bluntly,
Yes. 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.
Also who would believe me.
And the second time, I thought it was my fault and that I should have fought back more, but I was scared.
This was many many years ago, and I of course know now neither one was my fault and neither one was OK.
This was all before I tried to commit suicide and I am sure was one of the many factors
there you have it.”
Because of the emotional courage it took to share these words, Wood has decided to take some time off of social media. There’s no saying how long she’ll be signed off, or if she’ll ever return to the world of social media. Although we’ll definitely miss her online presence, we wholeheartedly understand her need to deal with these things in private, and we’re sending all of our love.
Wood’s raw and honest letter comes at a time when many celebrities are using their platforms to share their own, seriously traumatic experiences in order to encourage others to not be silent about these very important issues. And while we know it’s never easy to open up to the world, we wholeheartedly commend Wood on her courage and willingness to share her own pain in an effort to change the conversation.