America Ferrera has joined the growing list of women who have come forward to share personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault.
In response to the #MeToo movement taking social media by storm, the actress shared a heartbreaking story Monday on Instagram, detailing the time she was sexually assaulted as a child.
“I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt of thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man,” Ferrera wrote, adding, “I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come.”
The former “Ugly Betty” star explained that the man smiled and waved at her regularly.
“I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew ― that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back,” she wrote, before encouraging women to “break the silence” so future generations “won’t have to live with this bullshit.”
#MeToo became a trending topic on Twitter over the weekend; individuals used the hashtag to tell their own sexual assault and harassment stories with the aim of showing just how common the problem is.
The hashtag gained steam when actress Alyssa Milano urged her Twitter followers to reply “me too” if they had been victims of sexual assault or harassment, on the suggestion of a friend. Fellow actresses Debra Messing, Gabrielle Union, Anna Paquin and Anika Noni Rose, among others, responded in solidarity.
As of now, her tweet has over 58,000 replies and has been retweeted more than 20,000 times.
The #MeToo movement gained momentum after news of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior came to light in recent weeks. Reports published by The New York Times and The New Yorker provided damning details about the Miramax founder’s disturbing treatment of women.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women, including actresses Ashley Judd, Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow and Mira Sorvino. Plenty of other stars, including Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney, have spoken out against Weinstein and condemned his actions.