In an interview with Brie Larson for Net-A-Porter's digital magazine, The Edit, Jane Fonda revealed heartbreaking details about her past and her childhood. It makes sense that Net-a-Porter chose Larson to speak to Fonda on the topic — as she notes in the article, Larson has played two abuse survivors and frequently works with survivors, too.
"I've been raped, I've been sexually abused as a child, and I've been fired because I wouldn't sleep with my boss," Fonda told Larson. "And I always thought it was my fault; that I didn't do or say the right thing." She revealed that her mother had been abused, too.
Fonda's tragic statement represents a trap it's all too easy for survivors to fall into — wondering what you could have done differently, or blaming yourself for others' actions. Eventually, though, Fonda was able to use her past trauma to promote positive change.
The actress said in the interview that being abused inspired her to become a women's rights advocate. She started the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University in 2001, and she's worked with V-Day to help prevent violence against women, People notes. Now, Fonda works with young women to help them realize rape and sexual abuse are not their fault.
She credits activism with helping her in her field, too. "I think my acting improved when I became an activist — I see things from a broader perspective," Fonda told Larson.
Fonda also suggested that celebrities should be empowered to speak out about what matters to them. When Larson asked how she'd respond to critics who tell celebrities not to speak their minds, Fonda responded that "everyone has the right to speak up."
A rep for Fonda didn't immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. We will update this story when we obtain a response.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).