Ashley Judd Opens Up About Sexual Harassment & Joins Other Famous Women Spoke Out About Uncomfortable Topics

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Ashley Judd, Ambassador, Population Services International attends the Breakout Session: The Economic Implications of Gender-Based Violence during the first day of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on September 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)
Source: JP Yim/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When it comes to the truly tough subjects in life, it might seem easier to avoid talking about them. But sometimes, talking about the tough stuff is important to help other people who might be going through the same thing, and that's exactly what Ashley Judd is doing right now. In a recent interview with Variety, Judd opened up about alleged sexual harassment she experienced in the late '90s, and it's heartbreaking to hear her claims about how she was allegedly treated. Judd claims that an unnamed studio exec tried to take advantage of her by allegedly asking her to do things like watching him in the shower in exchange for roles in his studio's movies. 

Judd doesn't reveal who the exec was in the interview — just that he was one of the "most famous, admired-slash-rivaled bosses" in Hollywood. And although she says she didn't realize what was happening to her was sexual harassment until later on, now she's ready to talk about sexual harassment in the industry. 

"This happened to be a man who did this to a woman," she claimed, adding, "But this system is one that all of us participate. I feel like I could have easily had a breakthrough conversation about what happened with men as I could with those women. We’re all part of the problem, but we’re all part of the solution." 

Judd isn't the first woman to speak out about an uncomfortable topic to the benefit of other women who could very possibly be going through the same thing. In fact, plenty of other famous, powerful women have used their position to help others by speaking out about their most difficult experiences

Angelina Jolie

Earlier this year, Jolie published a personal essay on her encounter with breast cancer. Bravely, she revealed that, when given the choice, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy to prevent the cancer that runs in her family, and how her choice has affected her as a woman who has now gone into menopause much earlier than she expected.

In her essay for the New York Times, she wrote: 

I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine. I inquired and found out that there are options for women to remove their fallopian tubes but keep their ovaries, and so retain the ability to bear children and not go into menopause. I hope they can be aware of that.

Lena Dunham

She chose to stay quiet about it for awhile, but when writing her book, Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham chose to reveal her own claims of sexual assault to the world. In the book, she wrote about a night she was allegedly date raped by a fellow student she was seeing, and was hit with all kinds of backlash. But instead of letting it shut her down, Dunham took the opportunity to shed light on how serious a problem victim-blaming can be for those who have suffered similar experiences. 

Giuliana Rancic

While trying to conceive her son, Duke, Rancic and her husband, Bill, struggled with fertility — and their surrogate's fertility — after an even scarier struggle with breast cancer. Since miscarriages and fertility are something that so many women face, she decided to be open about her family's challenges to conceive.

It would definitely be easier to sweep scary issues like these under the rug, but I'm glad that these brave women have decided to share their stories so bravely and so openly. The world is a better place for it — and there are so many women out there who, because of them, feel less alone. 

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