Being brave enough to face the threat of violence head-on is something to be proud of. At least, that’s how Meryl Streep feels. On November 15th, the actress gave a surprise speech at the annual awards for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Streep opened up about her experiences with physical violence, saying Cher was even there for one of the instances.

The Hollywood icon, who has spoken out against Harvey Weinstein in light of his allegations of abuse, showed up at the event in New York City to thank journalists. She applauded them — especially female reporters — for putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of uncovering the truth.

“I get to meet my heroes,” Streep said in her speech, according to The Daily Beast. “I really came here tonight to thank you — that’s all. Really, thank you. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. You are the Fourth Estate. You are our first line of defense against tyranny and state-sanctioned news.”

Streep also acknowledged that today, being a female investigative journalist is scarier than ever. “We do recognize the special cocktail of venom and ridicule which is always tinged with sexual threat that’s served up online for women — any woman in any profession — that stands up to tell the truth.”

Streep also opened up about her own experiences with physical violence.

She hammered home the fact that this threat is still all too real.

Cher co-starred in the 1983 film Silkwood with Streep. She once told Us Weekly that together, they “saved a girl from a large mugger in New York City.”

However, Streep acknowledged that these terrifying events actually empower her.

No matter our careers, Streep’s words can help us all be stronger women.