Like so many sexual assault survivors, Evan Rachel Wood has a hard time reading the onslaught of stories about sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond. It's why Wood posed an honest question to her fellow sexual assault survivors on Twitter. "Has anyone else's PTSD been triggered thru the roof?" Wood tweeted. "I hate that these feelings of danger are coming back." From the responses she got, it was clear Wood was not alone.
Last year, Wood revealed that she had been raped by two different perpetrators who she has described as being a "significant other" and a "bar owner."
After allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and rape against Harvey Weinstein were revealed last month, Wood released a YouTube video in solidarity with the women who had come forward. Some of whom were being questioned as to why they hadn't spoken up sooner. In the clip, Wood explained why she has not named her assailants — and why that's nothing to be ashamed of even if others want to tell you it is.
"Sometimes the act is so traumatizing, or you're so ashamed of it, or you're so confused by it, or you're so scared of your perpetrators, that you're silenced," Wood said. "Sometimes for years, sometimes for your whole life." She shared that "it took me seven years after I was raped to admit to myself that I even was raped and that I should be upset."
Wood's honestly on the topic of sexual assault may be why others felt comfortable sharing their own "feelings of danger." Especially, since Wood treated it as a discussion, responding to those who took the time to answer her questions.
"It's mentally exhausting," one person wrote, but "comforting to know I'm not alone." The person suggested music had been a helpful way for them to cope. Wood agreed that outside things had made it easier, commenting, "I find having an animal around really helps too."
The feeling that there were others out there who understood was a common response from fans. "I fade in and out of dissociative states," journalist Jes Skolnik tweeted. "My muscles are constantly tight. i can't sleep. fight or flight fight or flight fight or flight. solidarity."
Wood agreed, that it was difficult on the body. "My back is burning from the tension," she wrote. "I am meditating like crazy trying to get it to losen [sic] its grip."
Others talked about the pain they feel reading these stories about sexual assault and harassment, and the guilt they feel when they don't. "I feel like I can't not hear their voices/read their stories because they deserve to be acknowledged," one person wrote. "But I also need to keep my mental health in check. Decisions, decisions."
"I so understand where you are coming from," another person wrote in response. "I want to be informed but it’s too much to contend with right now. Then I feel guilty that I’m not standing with these brave women and men who are coming forward."
I so understand where you are coming from. I want to be informed but it’s too much to contend with right now. Then I feel guilty that I’m not standing with these brave women and men who are coming forward— Ellie Silva (@thedoctor102000) November 10, 2017
Another person talked about how their "anxiety levels have been off the hook and lots of repressed stuff is coming back to the fore. Feeling sad and shaken all the time. So wish this would go away. I hate bothering people but I wish I could talk without feeling ashamed to share what’s happening."
Wood responded to this user's comment, tweeting, "We must talk about it together. People need to know and its good for us to listen but yes, it is so painful" later adding, "Talk about it in a safe place without shame. Its healing beyond words."
Earlier this year, Wood revealed that it's her Westworld character Dolores that encouraged her to seek trauma therapy. "She even has pity on her abusers. She rises above it, and that gave me strength in real life, and actually helped me come to terms with a lot of my trauma and my repressed memories," Wood told Allure. "It got me to go to trauma therapy and actually deal with things that I hadn’t dealt with at all. So she’s really changed my life."
These are not easy things to talk about, but for right now, Wood's Twitter account has become a safe space for people to gather and know they're not alone. It may even be a place for people to find a little hope.
"Just want to say to everyone," Wood tweeted after seeing so many responses to her initial question, "we are going to get through this."
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).