Jane Fonda is opening up about a traumatic experience from her childhood.
In a candid interview with actress Brie Larson for The Edit
, the Grace and Frankie
star reveals for the first time that she was sexually abused.
"To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females, I've been raped," she says. "I've been sexually abused as a child."
"I know young girls who've been raped and didn't even know it was rape," she continues. "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 is] not our fault. We were violated and it's not right."
Fonda also told the Room star that she was once fired from a job, all because she wouldn't accept her boss' sexual advances.
"I've been fired because I wouldn't sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault -- that I didn't do or say the right thing," she confesses.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time someone in Fonda's family was sexually abused. Fonda previously revealed that her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, had also been a victim of rape. She committed suicide in April 1950 when the Oscar winner was 12.
The actress, now 79, admits that while she was growing up in the '50s, she felt "diminished."
"The men in my life were wonderful, but victims of a [patriarchal] belief system," she explains. "Eventually I decided I wasn't going to give up who I was in order to please the man I was with."
"I became an embodied feminist when I was single and saw Eve Ensler perform The Vagina Monologues," she adds. "While I was laughing, my feminism carried from my head into my DNA. It took a long time, though, because I was brought up with the disease to please…"
And while the activist is happy with the way she's lived her life through decades in the spotlight, she tells Larson she does have one regret -- not being a better parent to her three kids, Vanessa Vadim, 48, Troy Garity, 43, and Mary Luana Williams, 49.
"I didn't know how to do it," she admits. "But you can learn, so I studied how to be a parent. It's never too late. I am trying to make up for what I didn't know before."
"When I die, I want my family to be around me," she adds. "I want them to love me and I have to earn that. I'm still working on it."