AnnaLynne McCord is getting candid on what it's like to be a victim of sexual abuse
During an interview with the BBC
on International Women's Day, The Night Shift
star opened up about the traumatic time when she was raped by a friend at the age of 18.
According to McCord, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the incident happened at the place she was living at while trying to pursue her acting career in Los Angeles.
"I was never raped in these scenarios that they tell you you're going to get raped in," McCord, now 29, explained. "I was in my own home. Let a friend come stay at my place, because he needed to crash, and I woke up and my Southern hospitality, if you want to call it that, was being greatly taken advantage of. I woke up, he was inside me, and my whole body shut down."
For nearly a decade, she blamed herself for the incident.
"For 10 years, I thought it was my fault. I didn't fight back," she said. "I found out recently due to my weird little studies of neuroscience that my body actually completely shut everything down and wouldn't let me fight back because I thought that was the only way to cope with abuse."
"I wasn't the one seeking any kind of solace or consolation from what happened -- I pretended like it didn't occur and went on with my life," she continued. "I thought I was fine and continued 'living,' if you want to call that living."
But "living" meant becoming "very, very dark."
"Suicidal," she admitted. "Self-harming -- cutting up my arms."
Now, McCord is sharing her story again in hopes of helping other victims of sexual abuse. Since first admitting she was raped while chatting with Cosmopolitan
back in 2014, she's spent her time involving herself with charity work, specifically organizations that deal with survivors of the Cambodian sex trade.
"I fight human trafficking, working with survivors of consistent rape every day, all day," she told BBC. "We're working to get them back to some sort of normalcy."
Concluding the interview, McCord shared a powerful message to those who have faced a similar situation.
"You have a voice," she exclaimed. "Don't put yourself in a box. Don't let the polite lies of society silence you."