Jane Fonda is opened up about her experiences with abuse.
In her cover story with Net-a-Porter’s magazine, The Edit, the Hollywood veteran revealed to actress Brie Larson, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of rape survivor in Room, that she was sexually assaulted when she was younger. While discussing feminism, Fonda made a shocking confession about her painful past as a way to show “the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females.”
“I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing,” she admitted. “I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said ‘no’ the wrong way.’ One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”
Calling the notion of victim-blaming “an epidemic,” the 79-year-old went on to discuss the obstacles struggling actress faced everyday. For the two-time Academy Award winner, it took her a while to finally find her voice in a male-dominated industry.
“Unlike you, Brie, it took me 60 years to learn how to say no,” she said. “If anyone offered me anything I would say yes. I took parts I wasn’t right for and I was taken advantage of. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Now, I would say, ‘No. This is a piece of sh*t. I don’t like the way you’re treating me,’ and leave. If only I had known then what I do now.”
Previously, the actress revealed her mother had been sexually abused and later committed suicide when she was only 12.
“One of the most important things that I learned is that [my mother] had been sexually abused,” Jane said in a 2014 episode of Oprah’s Master Class. “Everything fell into place.”
During her interview with Larson, the Youth star spoke about her own regrets as a parent, saying, “I regret that I wasn’t a better parent. I didn’t know how to do it. But you can learn, so I studied how to be a parent. It’s never too late. I am trying to make up for what I didn’t know before. When I die, I want my family to be around me. I want them to love me and I have to earn that. I’m still working at it.”