At Elle's Women in Hollywood event on Monday, Witherspoon made a speech about how she was sexually assaulted at age 16 by a director:
"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," said Witherspoon in light of the sexual misconduct accusations made against Harvey Weinstein. "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.
She went on to reveal that this was not an isolated incident, and the harassment and abuse from multiple aggressors was ongoing.
"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."
Jennifer Lawrence shared her experiences of being shamed and harassed in an speech at the same event.
"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," Witherspoon concluded. "It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to."