Jane Fonda made a powerful stance against damaging patriarchal attitudes this week when she spoke out about her experiences of both sexual abuse and rape for the very first time.
The 79-year-old actress and activist talked openly with fellow Hollywood star Brie Larson during a conversation for The Edit magazine to mark International Women’s Day next week (March 8).
Although she said it took her a long time to apply feminism to her life, she revealed how she eventually realised the reasons why she was made to feel diminished by society in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
“To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females; I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abuse as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss,” she powerfully revealed. “And I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.”
Championing the work of the women’s movement she added: “I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They thing, “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 realise that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”
It’s not the first time Fonda has spoken up against the patriarchy, in support of the feminist cause. The Oscar-winning star has been a long time supporter of V-Day, a movement that aims to stop violence against women, inspired by The Vagina Monologues.
In 2002, she became vocal against female genital mutilation (FGM) and in 2004 she led a march through Ciudad Juarez to draw attention to the femicide of hundreds of women in the deprived Mexican region.
As the actress approaches 80, her activism shows no signs of slowing down. Fonda’s words this week will undoubtedly reach out to thousands of fellow survivors who have been through similar experiences and are in need of support and guidance.
The full interview appears in The Edit, which you can read here.