Sarah Terry
November 28, 2016 3:16 pm
Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / Getty

When you’re acting in a piece that’s as violent and graphic as HBO’s Westworld, it’s tough to totally separate yourself. Some actors use their past traumas to fuel their performances. And that’s the case for Evan Rachel Wood, whose personal demons influenced her Westworld character Delores.

Evan told Rolling Stone that she draws from her past abuses, which include sexual assault, to influence some of the darker moments on the show. Evan sent Rolling Stone a letter that offered raw details about her experience with sexual assault. Evan also released the letter in its entirety on Twitter, so that everyone can know her story. Evan’s letter is so sad, but also SO important, and we’re glad she shared.

Evan Rachel Wood released the below note detailing her sexual assault, and everyone needs to read it.

Find Evan’s letter below in full:

I started questioning my reasons for staying vague about my experiences as a girl growing up in America. I think, like a lot of women, I had the urge not to make it a sob story, to not make it about me.
I didn’t have to confirm what happened, what mattered is that shit happened.
Bad. Shit.
That still affects me to this day.
I think, deep down, I also didn’t want to be accused of doing it for attention, or told it wasn’t a big deal, 
Or
“That’s not really rape.”
I will not be ashamed. I will also not project some false idea of being completely over it because “I am so strong.”
I don’t believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer. 
I certainly can’t.
Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism.
It should be talked about because it’s swept under the rug as nothing and I will not accept this as ‘normal.’
It’s a serious problem.
I am still standing. I am alive. I am happy. I am strong. But I am still not ok.
I think it’s important for people to know that, for survivors to own that, and that the pressure to just get over it already, should be lifted.
It will remind people of the damage that has been done and how the trauma of a few minutes can turn into a lifetime of fighting for yourself.
It’s not that you can’t get over it. It’s just that you are never the same, or maybe I just haven’t gotten there yet. 
So to answer your blunt question bluntly. 
Yes. I have been raped. By a significant other while we were together.
And on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar. 
The first time I was unsure that if it was done by a partner, it was still in fact rape, until too late. 
Also who would believe me.
And the second time, I thought it was my fault and that I should have fought back more, but I was scared. 
This was many many years ago, and I of course know now neither one was my fault and neither one was ok. 
This was all before I tried to commit suicide and I am sure was one of the many factors. 
there you have it.

That must have been such a difficult letter to write, but we applaud Evan for her honesty.

Jason LaVeris / Getty

She offers a message of the importance of sharing these kinds of experiences, but she also makes us all understand why it’s so difficult. Sexual assault can be SO damaging because, as Evan’s letter said, so many feel like they were at fault or that they won’t be believed. Victims almost worry more about defending themselves than about healing. And that has to stop.

We are so heartbroken to hear what happened to Evan, but we are also so inspired by her courage and her honesty. We hope that her words, along with those of so many others the past few months, will finally start to change the conversation about sexual assault. And that they use real experiences to change preconceived notions they may have about rape and sexual assault.

We appreciate that Evan Rachel Wood is willing to share her pain to hopefully open peoples’ eyes. And we hope everyone will listen.

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