"When I was 13, a 50-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection. When I was fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set," Ringwald claims. "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."
Ringwald then describes an audition in her twenties, when she says she was asked to let the lead actor put a dog collar around her neck.
"The actor was a friend of mine, and I looked in his eyes with panic... I’d like to think that I just walked out, but, more than likely, there’s an old VHS tape, disintegrating in a drawer somewhere, of me trying to remember lines with a dog collar around my neck in front of a young man I once had a crush on," she shares. "I sobbed in the parking lot, and when I got home and called my agent to tell him what happened, he laughed and said, 'Well, I guess that’s one for the memoirs. . . .' I fired him and moved to Paris not long after."
"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. 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," she continues. "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."