The abuse began at age 6 by a babysitter, she said, and continued with her grade-school boyfriends. "Needless to say, I had a hard time trusting humans," she told the audience at Cannes. "I just wanted off this earth."
Anderson said that her parents were loving, but her father was an alcoholic, and her mother worked two jobs to support the family.
The actress explained that her troubled upbringing helped to steer her into activism, like her alliance with PETA. "My loyalty remained with the animal kingdom," she said. "I vowed to protect them and only them. Then, I realized humanity is suffering."
Anderson's message, however, was one of positivity. "The world can be a safe and thriving place, if we all do our part," she concluded.
Read the whole transcript of Anderson's speech here. (CNN)