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Reese Witherspoon reveals she was sexually assaulted by a director at age 16

"We're kind of told to sweep it under the rug…”

By Candice Mehta-Culjak

Reese Witherspoon has added her voice to the growing list of women who have shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault, revealing that she was sexually assaulted by a director at the age of 16.

It follows a slew of shock allegations levelled against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, three of which now include rape.

The actress, 41, made the revelation while delivering a speech at the ‘Elle Women in Hollywood’ event on Monday.

“This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” the Oscar winner said. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier.”

“[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” she added.

“And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often.”

The Big Little Lies star, who did not name the director, went on to say that she feels “encouraged” and “less alone” in the wake of the shocking allegations brought against Weinstein.

“But after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career.”

WATCH: Reese indulges in a little Legally Blonde nostalgia. Post continues...

She concluded: “I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal. For the young women in this room, life is going to be different because we’re with you, we have your back and it makes me feel better. It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”

Reese’s comments come after dozens of women stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct — including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie.

And may we say, thank you for sharing your stories.

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