What bravery. Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood went before a U.S. House Judiciary committee on Feb. 27 and told the harrowing story of violent rapes in her past by two different men. She made the shocking confessions in support of getting the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act passed in all 50 states. The 30-year-old spoke of two traumatic incidents that happened to her that are “burned into my brain and branded there for life. A mental scar that I feel every day.” The first occurred with a former boyfriend and the other rape was by a man in a locked closet after hours at a bar.
“My experience with domestic violence is this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse that started slow but escalated over time including threats against my life, severe gas-lighting and brain washing, and waking up to the man who claimed to love be raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,” she told the panel. “Sick rituals of binding me up by hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proved my love for them. In this moment of being tied up and beaten and being told unspeakable things I truly felt that I could die, not just because my abuser said to me ‘I could kill you right now’ but because in that moment I felt like I left my body and was too afraid to run because he could find me. I froze.”
Evan said that the experience left her feeling “utter shame and despair” and that “I was deeply terrified and that fear lives with me to this day.” She went on to describe a second harrowing experience. “Because of this abuse my already spiritless person when I was pushed onto the floor of a locked storage closet by another attacker after hours at a bar, my body instinctively knew what to do. Disappear, go numb, make it go away. Being abused and raped previously made it easier for me to be raped again, not the other way around.” How terrifying!
“Not a day goes by when I don’t hear the words this man whispered into my ear over and over. ‘You’re going to be fine, you’re going to be fine.’ And my small voice saying back ‘no, no, no, no no,’ until it faded into nothing. And I remember the feeling of shutting down and freezing and utter shock taking over and I couldn’t even make a sound. I felt a piece of me disappear, a piece that has never returned. In other words I was not fine, and I am not fine,” she confessed.
“Even though these experiences happened over a decade ago, I still struggle with the aftermath. My relationships suffer, my partners suffer, my mental and physical health suffers. Seven years after my rapes — plural — I was diagnosed with longterm PTSD, which I had been living with all of that time without knowing about my condition,” she revealed. Evan then shared that she struggled with “depression, addiction, agoraphobia and night terrors.” The actress heartbreaking told of two suicide attempts, one of which landed her in a psychiatric ward. But that it was a turning point in her life as she started seeking professional help after that to deal with her trauma and mental stress.
The Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act would ensure that survivors are given free rape kit tests after their assault. They would also be told of the results and notified two months prior to the destruction of the kit and be given the option to preserve the evidence in it even after the statute of limitations on the attack runs out. The bill is currently in place in nine states and Evan wants to make sure that the addition 41 get on board with the program.