The Heartbreaking Reason Behind Jane Fonda’s Activism

It’s no secret that Jane Fonda is a champion for feminism. The two-time Academy Award winner—who addressed the thousands who showed up at the Women’s March in Los Angeles—has often spoken out against gender inequality, advocated for survivors of abuse and even funded the launch of the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University. Now, in an interview with Net-a-Porter’s The Edit, Jane revealed that her connection to women’s issues goes well beneath the surface.

“To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females, I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child, and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss,” she told fellow Oscar winner and sexual abuse advocate Brie Larson, who was conducting the interview. “And I always thought it was my fault, that I didn’t do or say the right thing.”

Her revelation comes just ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, when women across the country intend to go on strike. It’s an important day for Jane, who has long championed the positive change brought about by publicly defending women’s rights.

“One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse is] not our fault,” she said. “We were violated and it’s not right.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit rainn.org for confidential support.