Evan Rachel Wood Reveals Personal Struggles in Coming Forward About Sexual Abuse, Assault

Frozen 2 star Evan Rachel Wood has been open about being a victim of sexual abuse and assault, but deciding to come forward was not easy. In a new interview with Harper's Bazaar, the Westworld actress discussed the personal struggles she overcame when coming forward. She also explained why she believes restraining orders do not work in every case.

"There is an expectation that survivors have to maintain some kind of composure or some certain way of being for the public to feel that they are an acceptable victim," Wood told author Chanel Miller in Harper's Bazaar. She explained how one of the "scariest parts" of coming forward was a smear campaign.

"No one knew I was being abused, but when the abuse was happening, in the press, it was so traumatic; they were calling me a whore, they were calling me crazy, and they were calling me names before I'd even said anything," Wood explained. "I felt like my credibility had already been destroyed, so it made it very difficult to come out during that time. My greatest fear was when I eventually said something, that all of that was going to repeat itself. I was really scared."

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Aside from her acting career, Wood is a busy activist. She created the #IAmNotOK movement. Wood is also behind the Phoenix Act, which seeks to get more rights for survivors instead of focusing exclusively on stricter punishments for perpetrators.

Wood later explained to Miller that restraining orders do not always help as one would hope, especially if the abuser is someone with power.

"If they have a whole network of people, and they're connected to gangs, or they're connected to other bad people, [a restraining order] doesn't really matter," Wood explained. "Even if they personally don't come after you, they might send somebody else to, and they might send somebody to hurt your family."

Wood said her abuser threatened her multiple times and also threatened family members. She spoke with her attorney about getting a restraining order, but was told the statute of limitations is up.

"Unless the threat's been made recently, you still can't get a restraining order," Wood explained.

The three-time Golden Globe nominee said she still has moments of PTSD when she hears footsteps outside her house.

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"My abuse happened over a decade ago, and I'm still dealing with that; we can't measure that, we can't charge that, it's not defined," Wood said. "I think a lot of victims will tell you that sometimes the scars on your mind are so much worse than the physical ones, but we only take into account the things we can see and measure with a ruler."


Wood voices the new character Iduna in Disney's Frozen II, which opens on Friday. She also plays Dolores Abernathy on Westworld, which returns on HBO next year.

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