Alyssa Milano is opening up for the first time about a sexual assault she experienced as a teenager, and never reported, in response to a controversial tweet posted by President Donald Trump on Friday.
"When I was sexually assaulted, I wasn’t that much older than Christine Blasey Ford," Milano wrote in her powerful op-ed published by Vox on Sunday.
Dr. Ford accused Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a high school party in 1982. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
On Friday, Trump attempted to cast doubt on her claims when he tweeted, "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"
Trump followed that up with another tweet, asking, "The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"
"Far too many of us know that what President Trump said is simply not true. Victims of sexual assault often don’t report what happened because they know all too well that our stories are rarely taken seriously or believed," Milano wrote, adding, "and that when it comes to sexual misconduct, our justice system is broken."
"Now, we are seeing our worst nightmares realized when we see the disbelief, pushback, hate, and death threats Ford is receiving just because she had the courage to speak up," she continued.
Milano, 45, explained that, after she was attacked, it "took me years after my assault to voice the experience to my closest friends. It took me three decades to tell my parents that the assault had even happened."
"I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option," she wrote. "For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker’s existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this Earth at all. This is what every survivor goes through."
Milano wrote that, for women who have been sexually assaulted, "Telling our stories means being vulnerable to public attacks and ridicule when our only 'crime' was to be assaulted in the first place."
Before penning her editorial, Milano responded to Trump's tweet directly shortly after he posted it Friday morning.
"Hey, @realDonaldTrump, Listen the f**k up. I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell me parents," she tweeted. "If any survivor of sexual assault would like to add to this please do so in the replies. #MeToo"
Her post was met with a flurry of responses from women and men who shared their own stories and experiences with surviving attacks, many of which went unreported.
"Our stories are not rare -- they are tragically common. This is the pain that people across the country carry with them every single day," Milano wrote in her op-ed. "I encourage you to listen to members of your family, to your neighbors, to those in your community who are living with an experience similar to Blasey Ford’s. But, most importantly, if you are also a survivor, I encourage you to honor your own experiences and your own voice, in your own time."
"Despite the alleged actions of Brett Kavanaugh, despite the words of President Trump, and despite the silence from so many of our lawmakers, you are valuable. You are human. You are important," she added. "And no one -- not a Supreme Court nominee and not a President -- can take that away from you."
Milano has previously opened up about being the victim and target of sexual harassment and misconduct in the past.
In October, shortly after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, Milano was one of the first celebrities championing the #MeToo movement on social media. She sat down with Good Morning America, and opened up about her own experiences.
"[The movement is] about showing that this happens everywhere, that it's not just Hollywood, that it's not just actresses," Milano said, adding, "I have been harassed so many times I can't count. I've been assaulted, but this wasn't because I was an actress."
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