Reese Witherspoon Breaks Down In Tears While Recalling Her Sexual Assault By A Director At 16
On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey, 63, will be leading a panel on CBS Sunday Morning discussing the Time’s Up movement and what they hope to achieve. According to CBS News, Reese Witherspoon, 41, discusses her own experience with sexual assault by a director when she was just 16 years old. A clip has been released of the discussion. Although the details of her experience are not included in the clip, the actress does break down while explaining her reaction.
“There’s moments that you have to evaluate whether silence is going to be your only option, and certain times that was our only option. But now is not that time,” Reese says. “I don’t know if I’ve gotten to that place yet, as you can see I’m still very emotional. I keep going back to, someone sent me this Elie Weisel quote,” she continued. “‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.’” Head here for more photos of Reese.
Reese first revealed that she had been assaulted at 16 at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in 2017. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly, and I found it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate,” 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 that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of 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. “I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault, and I don’t speak about them very often, but after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight, the things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I felt less alone this week than I’ve ever felt in my entire career.”
Oprah and Reese are joined on the panel by exec Kathleen Kennedy, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shonda Rhimes, and Nina Shaw. The full discussion will air on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 9:30 a.m. EST on CBS.