America Ferrera Shares Heartbreaking #MeToo Story of Being Sexually Assaulted as a Child

instagram/@americaferrera

In the wake of the horrific Harvey Weinstein allegations, there has been an ever-growing global conversation about the sexual harassment women face on a daily basis. The #MeToo movement—originally started a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke to help women of color who had been sexually abused—has since gone viral.

MORE: This Latina Sexual Abuse Survivor Wants Stronger Laws for Child Victims

More than 800,000 people have used the hashtag on Twitter, and millions have engaged on Facebook, sharing personal stories of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. Actress America Ferrera recently joined the Twitter movement and took to Instagram to share her own story. It’s both fearless and heartbreaking:

“First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9 years old,” the Superstore star wrote. “I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9 year old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man.

She continued, "I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come. He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew- that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back."

 

#metoo

A post shared by America Ferrera (@americaferrera) on

 

The story came shortly after the Ugly Betty alum Tweeted simply: #MeToo. She joins other celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd and Rose MacGowan who have also shared their experiences.

Ferrera ended her message by saying, “Ladies, let’s break the silence so the next generation of girls won’t have to live with this bullshit.”

We honor the 33-year-old star and ALL of the women who are bravely coming forward to shine a light on the hideous, pervasive criminal behavior, to let go of the shame, and to let other women know they aren’t alone. And seeing men step up to post messages of support, like this one from How to Get Away With Murder star, Matt McGorry, gives us glimmers of hope.

 

One of the many things that’s so disheartening about the Weinstein hideousness is how many men knew what was happening and didn’t do or say anything. Hopefully, this movement is only the beginning of some real change.