This March, AVFTI has focused on celebrities who have had the courage to speak out about their sexual assault or survivor of sexual abuse. We highlighted a few in our podcast. But it was only a few. If you were curious about some of the other survivors we highlighted on our social media this month, we’ve compiled their stories here.
Tyler Perry had an abusive father growing up. In an interview with Oprah, Perry described his father beating him with a vacuum cord over and over. Perry said he was sexually abused by 3 men and assaulted by the mother of one of his friends. This made him struggle with his sexuality.
Oprah herself struggled with sexual assault. At the age of 9, she was raped by an adult male. “He took me out for ice cream,” she recalled in an interview with David Letterman. “Blood still running down my leg.” After that, she was sexually abused from ages 10 to 14 and became pregnant. The baby died two weeks after its birth.
Lady Gaga was assaulted at 19 by a man 20 years her senior. At first, she blamed her provocative music and fashion styles. In an interview with Howard Stern she explained “When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications on you. For many people it has almost like trauma, where you re-experience it through the years after it, it can trigger patterns in your body of physical distress.” Gaga co-wrote the single “Till It Happens to You” featured on The Hunting Ground.
Shia Lebeouf was sexually assaulted by a female during his #IAMSORRY silent art exhibition. Visitors had the choice of a prop and were able to sit in the room with Shia for a brief period of time. Shia was to remain silent. A woman brought in a whip and proceeded to whip him several times. She raped him. Shia says over 100 people in line saw her leave with disheveled hair and smudged lipstick, including his girlfriend who had come to surprise him. He said they remained silent and stuck in the trauma he couldn’t yet talk about.
These are a few of the survivors we’ve chosen to highlight this month. They are brave individuals who have spoken in a very public forum about the hardest parts of their lives. We have seen the importance of sharing our stories and supporting those who have the courage to do so. But we also must remember that survivors are not only on our screens, they’re in front of us every day. Keep lifting each other up. Keep overcoming.