Evan Rachel Wood: I attempted suicide twice after being raped and tortured
Evan Rachel Wood has told Congress that she was tortured and raped multiple times, leading her to self-harm and twice attempted suicide.
The Westworld actress, who came out as bisexual in 2011, said she remembers waking up “to the man that claimed he loved me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body”.
She was “mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proven my love for them,” she said.
“I thought I was the only human who experienced this, and I carried so much guilt and confusion about my response to the abuse.
“I accepted my powerlessness, and I felt I deserved it somehow.”
Wood, 30, was testifying to a House Judiciary Subcommittee in order to get the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act implemented in all states.
The act establishes statutory rights for survivors at a federal level, but has only been passed in nine states.
The actress, who also starred in Thirteen, said the abuse by her ex-boyfriend “started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing”.
She was subjected to “toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse,” she said, which “altered the course of my life”.
Wood recounted “sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet” and being “beaten and told unspeakable things”.
“My self esteem and spirit were broken. I was deeply terrified and that fear lives with me to this day.”
Sitting side-to-side with fellow activists, she added: “Even though these experiences happened a decade ago I still struggle with the aftermath.
“The feeling of paralysis returns when I’m home alone and hear a loud noise and I’m convinced someone is coming to hurt me.
“I stay awake all night clutching a baseball bat, which began to replace my distraught and absent partners, as trust and touch became increasingly more difficult.”
What happens to a rape victim afterwards is “a huge part of the conversation that needs much more attention,” she told the hearing.
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“So often we speak of these assaults as no more than a few minutes of awfulness, but the scars last a lifetime,” said Wood.
“Even though these experiences happened a decade ago, I still struggle with the aftermath.
“Seven years after my rapes – plural – I was diagnosed with long-term PTSD, which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition.
“I simply thought I was going crazy.”
The actress added: “This bill is just one step in the right direction of setting the bar higher for what’s right and what the standard will be that we set for society.”
Last year, Wood told Ben Affleck to “try getting raped in a scene” after the Batman star reportedly said kissing a man was his “greatest acting challenge”.