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Reese Witherspoon Alleges She Was Sexually Assaulted By A Director At 16

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Oct. 17 2017, Published 1:01 p.m. ET

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In the wake of the massive Harvey Weinstein scandal, several actresses and actors have come forward with their own claims of sexual harassment during their time in the entertainment industry.   The latest is Big Little Lies star Reese Witherspoon, who revealed that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a director when she was only 16 years old.

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Reese, 41, spoke about women’s experiences in the industry as it relates to these alleged allegations during her speech at the Elle Women in Hollywood event, which was sponsored by Calvin Klein and L’Oreal Paris Monday night.  

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“This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” said the Legally Blonde star during the event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hollywood.

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 “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier.”

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 “(I feel) true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” she continued. 

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What makes the situation even worse for Reese is that this incident was allegedly not the only time it happened to her.

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“And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often.”

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“But after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career,” she added.

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“I have just spoken to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. That truth is very encouraging to me and everyone out there in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth.” she continued.

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Reese concluded with "I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal. For the young women in this room, life is going to be different because we’re with you, we have your back and it makes me feel better. It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”

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Reese joins other actresses, including Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale and Gwyneth Paltrow who have shared their own claims of sexual harassment in the industry.  

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What are your thoughts on Reese’s powerful speech?  Sound off in the comments! 

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