Actress Thandie Newton is opening up about being sexually abused by a director at 16 on the set of a film. The "Westworld" star said she was "groomed for weeks" before the assault took place while filming for the 1991 film "Flirting."
In a recent interview with Vulture, Newton explained that she was preyed upon by sexual abusers because of her low sense of self-worth that developed when she was repeatedly sidelined by a dance teacher while growing up.
"We didn’t talk about it at the time, but the damage was so done. It just made me super-vulnerable to predators," Newton recalled. "That’s the truth. Because there’s so much about not having a sense of my value. I suffered quite badly for a couple of years from anorexia, and it all feeds into this. Just wanting to disappear."
The eating disorder tied in with the sexual abuse. Newton said she felt like she needed to give something back for being noticed.
"You get predators and sexual abusers, they can smell it a mile off. It’s like a shark smelling blood in the water. All you need is one of those to really drive you into the dust," she said. "In a way, an eating disorder was just like, 'Okay, I need to finish myself off. I need to get fully rid of myself now.' Unfortunately, that was while I was in an industry where a woman is utterly objectified."
Newton has been vocal about the abuse and spoken about it in several interviews.
"I’d been psychologically groomed over weeks," she previously told The Sunday Times. "I didn’t fight him off, I was almost paralyzed with fear. It was sexual abuse."
By speaking up, Newton said she hopes it can help other girls in her position.
"One person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director," she previously said, according to Independent. "That’s the person I’m interested in."
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