Reese Witherspoon says director assaulted her at the age of 16

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ELLE(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) — Reese Witherspoon has shared her own story of assault in Hollywood, saying Monday night that she was a victim of abuse when she was 16 years old.

Speaking at an ELLE Women in Hollywood event in Beverly Hills, the Oscar-winning actress said the events of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal over the past few days have reminded her about her own experiences.

“[Those experiences] 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,” Witherspoon says in a video posted by USA Today.

Witherspoon, now 41, says a director “assaulted me when I was 16 years old.” She also said the incident as a teen wasn’t an “isolated” one.

She also expressed her “guilt” for not speaking up earlier or “taking action,” mixed with the “anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.”

Dozens of women who have spoken out and continue to speak out against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women.  A spokesperson for the movie executive has said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

A social media campaign also began this week, with women and men posting the hashtag #metoo to highlight and empower victims of sexual assault. As of Tuesday morning, it had been retweeted more than a million times. 

Actress Alyssa Milano was one of the first to share the call for a “Me too” hashtag, writing, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

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