Ashley Judd Reaches Out to #MeToo Survivors in Open Letter About Healing
By Jennifer Drysdale
Ashley Judd wants to help other #MeToo survivors learn to heal.
The 50-year-old actress spoke at the Tribeca Talks: Time's Up event on Saturday, where she chose to read an open letter she had written on the importance of healing after sexual harassment and assault. Judd shared the letter with Refinery 29 on Tuesday.
"We can heal. That has been my experience," wrote Judd, who was one of the first women to come forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct in The New York Times' first expose last October. "We may not, admittedly, know how to, or even from what we need to heal. It may be the event itself, or vivid or dull memories of it, and it is entirely plausible that we don’t even remember the event."
"There is a police record of a time I was sexually assaulted in high school. I was wearing a green and gold cheerleader uniform, my mother tells me. It was in a local store, and I have no memory of that crime," she revealed. "We may not even think we need to heal, that maybe we’ve just had some crappy relationships. Whatever trauma looks like in our lives, feelings can be healed."
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Judd continued by listing the various ways survivors choose to heal from their traumas, and said that while what happened to them isn't "fair." "What happened to us will always have been wrong, sexist, and criminal, yet we are fundamentally and ultimately responsible, respondable to our own lives," she expressed. "This may sound harsh, but it means we have autonomy, we are powerful, and we have agency."
"You are not alone, I believe you, and it wasn’t your fault, by now are our internal paradigm," she said. "We cease taking people, places, and things so personally, and what was that rage Tarana [Burke] spoke about becomes our strength, our energy, and our motivation. What was depression becomes expression, and self-pity and helplessness are transformed into dignity, integrity, and courage. We celebrate and enjoy our sexuality. We prosecute and forgive at the same time."
"There will still be the hard days. The facts do remain the facts, but we know our preciousness and our fierceness," she concluded. "Healing, damn it, is our birthright."
A representative for Weinstein roundly denied Judd's claims in a statement released to ET on Tuesday.
"The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor ever interfered with Ms. Judd’s career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade. The actual facts will show that Mr. Weinstein was widely known for having fought for Ms. Judd as his first choice for the lead role in Good Will Hunting and, in fact, arranged for Ms. Judd to fly to New York to be considered for the role. Thereafter, Ms. Judd was hired for not one, but two of Mr. Weinstein’s movies, Frida in 2002 and Crossing Over with Harrison Ford in 2009," the statement read. "We look forward to a vigorous defense of these claims."