Rosario Dawson Says She Was Sexually Abused As A Child & It Shaped How She Fights For Justice

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Rosario Dawson has recently opened up about her traumatic past. Appearing on the feminist podcast Morado Lens, Rosario Dawson said she was being molested and raped as a child and spoke about how it influenced her career. The Luke Cage actor explained that the experiences made her numb to the sexual harassment she saw in Hollywood, and that it's why the current uprising of women calling out abusers in the entertainment industry is so personal to her.

Dawson explained her experience with witnessing misconduct in the entertainment industry and her early trauma to Morado Lens hosts Cindy Rodriguez and Nathalie Farfan. She said:

“I was raped and molested as a child, so for me, the world was like that since I was a child. So when I saw it in the workplace, it wasn’t foreign to me. It was like, well, that even happens within the family. It happens with people that are supposed to take care of you when you’re a child.”

Dawson used this as an example of one of the reasons why women were not speaking up as much before about misconduct — because it happens so frequently that people are sometimes numb to its effect. "We don’t speak up for ourselves or for each other," Dawson explained. "It’s an interesting thing I find with all this sexual harassment stuff with all the people who felt complicit, like, ‘I knew he was bad and I didn’t say anything.'"

Dawson also told the podcast hosts that she's glad for the sexual harassment reckoning that's been happening with the #MeToo movements and #TimesUp. "Now we’re in a place where finally it’s like, ‘No! We don’t have to keep passing this on,'" Dawson said of systematic harassment. "This is archaic and terrible and destructive and let’s look at it. [The movement is] beautiful and I’m so ready for this moment."

She added that sexual harassment is not only a women's issue. "Regardless of what the numbers are, across the board people are being harassed and abused because of power," Dawson said. "It’s not this binary man/woman thing."

Dawson has spoken publicly about her support of Time's Up, the initiative started by 300 women in entertainment industry that was founded to legally defend women and others who face gender discrimination or harassment in the workplace. In a video tweeted out by Eva Longoria, Dawson thanked the many celebrities who came forward with their sexual misconduct accusations, including Anthony Rapp, Rose Mcgowan, and Ashley Judd. Dawson said:

"Why we wear black? We wear black to symbolize solidarity, that the death knell has struck on the abuse of power, and that it's time to celebrate each other, not just the nominees on our film and television screens, but our story tellers who have bravely come forward and courageously shared their personal stories, which have liberated so many of us. Me too."

In addition to her support of Times Up, Dawson has been very outspoken about her activism. She attended the Women's March on Washington following President Trump's inauguration, and she has been arrested multiple times for protesting, including in 2016 during a Democracy Spring rally against corruption in politics. She was arrested, and released that day, for crossing a police line. According to Us Weekly, she was fined $50, but said that the police handled the arrest well. "The police were really great with us and really lovely. I have to say that is not the case for so many people.” She was previously arrested in 2004 at a George W. Bush protest.

However, Dawson believes that the future might be brighter because of the next generation. The Daredevil actor, who is herself a mother of teenager, who she adopted in 2004, described young people as being more open to people of all walks of life. She told Morado Lens, "Kids today are in a really different position...this is a generation that is accepting and not tolerant, which is what the parents and their parents above them will preach to be. It’s not about being tolerant. It’s about being accepting."

Dawson is ready for that more accepting culture, where people call out abuse when they see it.

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.