It's been a banner week for women giving speeches. On the heels of Angelina Jolie's powerful words about sexual harassment's role in industries all over the world, Meryl Streep appeared at the annual awards for the Committee to Protect Journalists Wednesday night and, in addition to commending journalists on their hard work in these tense times, took a moment to get personal about sexual harassment and violence against women.
"We do recognize the special cocktail of venom and ridicule which is always tinged with sexual threat that’s served up online for women — any woman in any profession — that stands up to tell the truth. I revere the people who do this because I am not a naturally brave person," she said, according to The Daily Beast.
In fact, she can recall specific instances in which she felt threatened or was attacked, and it gives her a new perspective on the events of the past few weeks.
"I do know something about real terror — the two times in my life when I was threatened and dealt with real physical violence, I learned something about life that I wouldn’t have known otherwise and I was lucky because my instincts served me well," she explained. "In one instance, I played dead and waited until the blows stopped — watching like people say you do from about 50 feet above from where I was beaten. And in the second instance, someone else was being abused and I just went completely nuts and went after this man. Ask Cher — she was there. And the thug ran away, it was a miracle."
These two moments have sat with her, and they're not unique. So many women have similar stories about sexual and physical violence and how they've previously just had to swallow it and keep their head up.
"I was changed by these events on a cellular level because women do know something particular about coming to the danger place," she added. "We come to it disadvantaged through the many millennia preceding our present moment and because of our vulnerability we anticipate danger, we expect it, we’re hyper alert to it."
You can say that again.
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).
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
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