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Molly Ringwald Was Sexually Exploited When She Was 14 Years Old

Molly Ringwald is the latest actor to come out with a powerful statement about her experience with sexual exploitation and demeaning mistreatment in Hollywood. She wrote an essay in The New Yorker, adding her voice to the dozens of others who are now coming out to create a chorus Hollywood and the rest of the world can no longer ignore. While Ringwald says she was never sexually mistreated by Harvey Weinstein, there have been plenty of Harveys throughout her career.

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She begins: “When I was thirteen, a fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection,” she writes. “At fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set. At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to become a sexually viable young woman, at every turn some older guy tried to help speed up the process. And all this went on despite my having very protective parents who did their best to shield me. I shudder to think of what would have happened had I not had them.”

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She then goes on to recount a story in which a director asked her to wear a dog collar during an audition, which seemed to be a request that had nothing to do with the action or intention of the scene. Ringwald was so upset, she cried in her car after the humiliating experience.

“I could go on about other instances in which I have felt demeaned or exploited, but I fear it would get very repetitive. Then again, that’s part of the point,” she wrote. “I never talked about these things publicly because, as a woman, it has always felt like I may as well have been talking about the weather. Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected President.”

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Ringwald’s article has been met with an outpouring of support and has helped to continue the conversation that needs to be had.

If you’re experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and are unsure what to do, call the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 800-669-4000 for help.

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