Jane Fonda has revealed that she has been the victim of a a history of sexual abuse, beginning when she was a child.
Speaking to fellow actor Brie Larson in Net-a-Porter magazine, Fonda said: “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.
“I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.”
Fonda, who has starred in films such as 9 to 5 and Barbarella and more recently won acclaim for roles in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and the Netflix show Grace and Frankie, said that young women were prone to diminishing the severity of such crimes because they blamed themselves.
“I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape,” she said. “They think, ‘It must have been because I said ‘no’ the wrong way’.”
As part of her work as a women’s rights activist, Fonda is a supporter of the V-Day movement, which works to stop violence against women and girls. She said that society needs to help abuse victims “realise that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right”.
Fonda also told Larson that she felt people underestimate the “extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females”. It took her a “a long time” to embrace feminism, she said, because “I was brought up with the disease to please.”
When researching her memoirs in 2014, Fonda found that her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, had been sexually abused aged eight. Seymour killed herself at the age of 42, when Fonda was 12.
Larson won the best actress Oscar in 2016 for her role as a woman who is held captive for six years and raped in the film Room.
In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.