Days after seemingly opening up with a claim that she was sexually assaulted, this former Pretty Little Liars star is speaking out. While talking to Us Weekly on Monday, Lucy Hale opened up about sexual assault, as well as the #MeToo movement and how it has affected her personally. And although she didn't share any details about what might have happened to her, it sounds like she's ready to move forward in a positive way. (Bustle reached out to a rep for Hale for additional comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.)
Last Thursday, Hale posted a message on Twitter and Instagram, in which it seemed that she was claiming she had been assaulted. She later deleted the message, but according to Us Weekly, she wrote:
I never understood sexual assault until tonight. I always sympathized, but never felt the pain of it until right now. My dignity and pride was broken. I am completely at a loss of words. I feel for anyone that has felt this pain that I feel right now. But I promise. I will not let a moment go by that I don’t try to make a difference.
And even though she still hasn't shared the full story — and explicitly stated to Us Weekly that she wanted to keep things vague — it sounds like #MeToo has had a major impact on her.
She told the magazine:
"To keep it somewhat vague, I think along with a lot of other people we’ve all had our experiences like that and until it’s happened to you, you kind of don’t really understand how it can affect you and everyone around you. And I just feel very honored to be around a lot of powerful women that are speaking up about it. And I think that’s where the change starts is when people start talking, because you never know who’s listening or whose life you can impact. You know, you see the change happening. It’s really an exciting time even though it started from dark times for people. I think the pay off will be extraordinary.”
The effect that so many women coming forward to share their stories of assault and harassment has already had on Hollywood and beyond has become so large, and it doesn't seem like this wave of change is going to end anytime soon. It's incredibly difficult to hear these stories (and it has to be even harder for the accusers to share them), but it's so necessary to bring an end to this kind of assault and abuse of power in the entertainment industry — and everywhere.
In a different interview on Monday night, Hale also told People that she "never wants to be someone who makes it all shiny and rainbows all the time." She also shared how she believes that real progress is being made in Hollywood right now. She said:
“I feel grateful to have people that I look up to that are speaking up about things. Not just women — I think men have sometimes suffered the same way that women have. And as long as a conversation is going or a conversation has started, which it has, that’s the best thing you could ever ask for because that makes people feel not alone. I think if powerful people can make a difference by speaking up, which they are, that will trickle down hopefully.”
It's good to hear that Hale feels empowered by other people who are sharing their stories, because that is how change happens. Of course, it's up to her when and if she ever shares the full story behind what she meant with her social media posts last week. But so far, she's already done an amazing thing by sharing what she has and speaking out about the importance of this movement.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.