8 Celebs Who Bravely Came Forward in 2014 With Personal Stories of Past Abuse

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Sexual assault is a serious, but an unfortunately misunderstood crime. When misinformation is spread, many people are confused about what constitutes sexual assault and how serious the trauma can be for its victims. This year, this crime garnered a lot of attention in the newspapers — in the celebrity news section. When big-name celebrities like Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham come forward with stories of allegedly being assaulted, what does it mean for fans, critics, and the general public?

When celebrities speak, people listen. Especially in the age of social media, the general public has a stronger than ever connection to stars, and celebrities can use their public persona to promote themselves and their work — and also important issues. While it would be hard to say that anyone is ever required to speak out on issues — especially issues that they have a personal connection to — it is a chance for them to raise awareness of the seriousness of the crime and how it affects victims. Therefore, it is worth applauding the following stars for their decisions to be brave enough to tell their own stories.

They all told their stories in the public eye, opening themselves up to exposure — and possibly even critique. That they were willing to share their pain speaks volumes about their motivation to raise awareness of a very real issue for so many people. And it also says that despite the pain, they were able to overcome the trauma and not only survive — but thrive.

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