Viola Davis’s #MeToo stories don’t involve famous Hollywood names, but that’s all the more reason to listen
The #MeToo movement has empowered individuals to come forward and share their stories of sexual harassment, assault, and sexism across many industries. However, because the movement seemingly began with Harvey Weinstein’s watershed takedown, most of the stories being spotlighted are from actresses who suffered abuses at the hands of well-known and powerful men while pursuing careers in Hollywood. Viola Davis opened up in the new issue of Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine to say that she doesn’t just have one #MeToo “story,” she has “stories,” and while her abusers don’t have powerful Hollywood names, that’s all the more reason to listen.
Here, Davis’s #MeToo “stories,” in full:
“Oh no, not only do I have my own story, I have my own stories," she told Porter. "I am telling you, I have had men touch me in inappropriate ways throughout my childhood. I have had men follow me on any given day, and I am saying during the day, at one o’clock in the afternoon, and expose themselves to me. I remember one day, when I was 27, waiting at the bus stop in Rhode Island for my niece to get out of pre-school. I was probably there 25 minutes, and I am not lying because I counted, 26 cars drove by with men in them who solicited me, harassed me, yelled at me, verbally abused me. Some of these men had baby seats in the back. And yeah, it makes you feel like crap, it makes you feel like, what would a childhood be if that were removed? And it’s hard to separate that stain from who you are. You tattoo it on yourself. Those personal experiences have allowed me to feel compassion for the women who have spoken up.
Davis has long been a vocal supporter of women’s and victim’s rights; she’s an advocate for The Rape Foundation and her moving speech at the 2018 women’s march empowered women who have yet to come forward, especially women of color, whose stories have been missing from the larger #MeToo movement.
“I am speaking today, not just for the Me Toos, because I was a Me Too,” she said at the women’s march. “But when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence. The women who are faceless. The women who don’t have the money and who don’t have the constitution and who don’t have the confidence, and who don’t have the images in our media that gives them a sense of self-worth enough to break the silence that’s rooted in the shame of assault, that’s rooted in the stigma of assault.”
The world needs more Viola Davis. We are forever listening.