Reese Witherspoon alleges sexual assault by director when she was 16

Jennifer Lawrence felt 'trapped' early in her career after producer took naked pics of her

Reese Witherspoon claimed a director sexually assaulted her when she was 16 - and that it wasn't the last time she experienced sexual assault or harassment in Hollywood.

"This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths", Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon decided to make her comments after calling it "a really hard week for women" in Hollywood - and all over the world.

Dozens of women who have spoken out and continue to speak out against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

After numerous women came forward this month alleging that they were sexually harassed and/or assaulted by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the 41-year-old Oscar victor recalled her own mistreatment as a young actress in Hollywood when giving an emotional speech at Elle's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration on Monday Night. Witherspoon did not name the director in question but said that the incident was the first of many experiences of "harassment and sexual assault" throughout her career.

"When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks", she said.

She added: "Increased awareness of the belittlement, objectification, and predation long endured by women who work in film will certainly be one result of the exposure of what Harvey Weinstein did and was permitted to do".

"I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I've been having about anxiety, the guilt for not speaking up earlier", she said. But though she said she feels guilty for not speaking about those experiences sooner, she added, "I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career". Rose McGowan and a few other women even allege the Hollywood honcho raped them.

More shockingly, she went on to confess it was not the only time she had been subject to abuse as an actress - like many others in the industry. "That truth is very encouraging to me and everyone out there in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth".

Over the past several years, Witherspoon has made an effort to produce and star in more female-driven stories for women of all ages.

Weinstein was sacked from The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded, and has been expelled from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she's leaving him, and police in New York City and London are investigating him for possible criminal misconduct.

"Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances".

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