Like many women across the country right now, Tatum O’Neal has been inspired to speak out about her own experience with sexual abuse. In an emotional post on Instagram, the Oscar-winning actress says she was “sexually assaulted more than once” at ages 5, 6, 12, 13, and 15.
“All by older men who I thought were safe,” she writes. “I rarely have known safety and was always blamed for the assaults and my loudness and curiosity. It’s taken me almost 55 years to know how to advocate for myself.”
O’Neal, 54, went on to slam President Trump for mocking a “sexual assault victim.” Although the actress doesn’t specifically name anyone, it appears she’s talking about Trump’s verbal attack on Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford. At a rally in Mississippi this week, POTUS ridiculed Ford for being unable to recall specific details of the alleged incident in the 1980s.
“We’ve sunk to a depth of depravity that I never thought the president of the United States could ever sink to. With uproarious laughter for someone who was assaulted at 15 years old,” she says. (Kavanaugh has denied all sexual misconduct accusations.)
“Whether it was 35 years ago to a 75-year-old man at 15 I remember everything,” O’Neal says. “It’s time to band together. … I’ve never seen such a dark time in our country.” You can read her post in full below.
O’Neal has opened up about experiencing sexual abuse before, in her 2001 book, A Paper Life: My Story. In it, she detailed a childhood full of neglect and abuse — physical, emotional, and sexual.
“It was terrible. My mother stayed drunk for years and years and years. It just went on and on and on. So even from when we were little up until when we grew up and, you know, it just didn’t end,” she told NBC News of her mother’s neglect as a child. O’Neal said she was molested at age 6.
“When parents are off getting drunk or getting high or taking pills in another room, and leaving little children with, you know, people who don’t watch their kids, this is what happens,” she said.
When asked if the molestation incident was a one-time thing, she replied “no.”
O’Neal’s post has been met with hundreds of supportive comments.
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