By: Sukh Toor
Actress Jane Fonda has opened up about sexual abuse she suffered as a child and young actress.
Just days before International Women’s Day, Fonda spoke out during a Net-a-Porter’s The Edit interview with fellow oscar-winning celeb Brie Larson about her experience.
Fonda said she was abused as a child and was fired from a job because she refused to sleep with her boss.
In the interview Fonda said she was infected with the ‘disease to please’ because of patriarchy influence on society.
Tanya Zapfe, manager of Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, said victims and survivors of sexual abuse often withdraw.
“It’s good to have advocate. A lot of times when people come out it give others the nerve to come out and talk about their past experiences,” said Zapfe.
Maria Barcelos, executive director of Gatehouse, works with survivors of sexual abuse on a daily basis. She said people like Fonda coming forward is helpful to other survivors.
“If someone with all that fame and attention comes forward and be vulnerable then others can too,” said Barcelos
Zapfe said individuals like Fonda have to fend off more people because they are in the spot light.
This isn’t the first-time 79-year-old has spoken out for a silenced group. She was an anti-Vietnam activist in the 60s’ and 70s’. In 2005, she went on a bus tour to speak out against the U.S. war in Iraq.
Zapfe said often children who experience sexual abuse withdraw completely, but sometimes inform someone of it.
Other celebrities who have spoken out about their child abuse include Teri Hatcher, who was raped by her uncle at the age of 5, but later testified against him in 2005 and won.
Oprah Winfrey, Rita Hayworth, Fantasia, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou and Ashley Judd are another few to name who shared their stories.
Women in the movie industry face similar workplace situations, such as sexual advances. People are afraid to lose jobs because well they’re so hard to come by, said Zepfe.
“It’s called a casting couch for a reason, that’s how it got its name,” she said.
Zapfe said it’s unfortunate Fonda didn’t go into detail about who and how, so that some action could be taken against them.
“These people think they have power over you, demean you, belittle you and it happens and people are afraid to speak up because what if they speak up and that person won’t get reprehended,” said Zepfe.
Often sexual abuse causes individuals to have anxiety, depression, flash backs, suicide ideations and relationship problems. On the other end of the spectrum, survivors can be perfectionist trying to regain control and sometime is dysfunctional ways, said Barcelos.
She said we as a society need to stop promoting sexualization of children.