I knew Jane Fonda was a heavyweight for women’s rights, but I had no idea just how powerful her own story was for inspiring change.
In a new interview with Brie Larson for Net-A-Porter magazine, Fonda opened up about her past history with abuse and sexism, and it’s just in time for International Women’s Day.
“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,” she told Larson. “I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.”
She added, “I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Now, I would say, ‘No. This is a piece of shit. I don’t like the way you’re treating me,’ and leave. If only I knew then what I do now.”
It’s unfortunately something we hear from abused women often, which means continued education and awareness for both men and women is key. Fonda is all about this initiative.
“I grew up in the ’50s, and it took me a long time to apply feminism to my life,” she explained. “The men in my life were wonderful, but victims of a [patriarchal] belief system.”
Now that’s a quote to remember. And Fonda’s interview doesn’t stop with its inspiration there. Far from it, in fact.
She goes on to say, “I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said ‘no’ the wrong way.’ One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse are] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”
Larson and Fonda’s entire exchange is really worth the read. These bits and pieces are the start of its amazingness, but I really do recommend that you go ahead and take the time to read the whole interview. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, it’s taking the time to educate yourself, which is the key to shattering that unhealthy belief system. Do yourself the favor.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.