Salma Hayek’s story about the sexual harassment she allegedly suffered at the hands of Harvey Weinstein back in December 2017 was awful, graphic and honest. Detailing the treatment she received, which included unwanted sexual advances from the Hollywood producer (that he vehemently denies) while working on the 2002 film Frida, Hayek’s story brought her deeper into the throng of women, both famous and not famous, who found the courage to speak out about the abuse they’d quietly endured for years.
And yet, as the powerful cultural paradigm shift we as a nation experienced at the end of 2017 rolled on, Hayek felt nervous about coming forward. As she revealed to Oprah Winfrey during Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations Live Event on Wednesday in New York City, the road to revelation was not an easy one.
“[The New York Times] contacted me to be a part of the first story and already by this contact, there was all this turmoil and I started crying when they asked and I ended up not doing it. And then I felt ashamed that I was a coward. I was supporting women for two decades but I couldn’t do this […] I thought of my daughter… I thought of the shame,” Hayek explained.
Those nerves, that feeling of shame and uncertainty at how you might be perceived after you tell your truth — those are certainly reasons women know all too well when it comes to subjects like these. That fear feels like it’s been hammered into women so they feel too afraid to speak out against the injustices and the abuse they suffer.
“When it came out, then I was ashamed that I didn’t speak up and then when so many women came out, it was a strange sensation,” Hayek further explained. “I felt like my pain was so small [compared with that of others]. I thought, ‘There’s no point for me to talk because it happens to everyone.'”
But luckily, she found the strength to come forward and in doing so realized that whatever reasons she has for feeling too nervous to come forward were easily pushed aside for the greater good. In the end, she realized that “when we come together and unite with each other, it’s not about drama. It’s not about pain. It’s about something that can move powerfully and make change happen.”
Too right you are, Salma Hayek. Too right you are.