You Need To Hear Rose McGowan's Fiery Women's Convention Speech

by Chris Tognotti

At the inaugural Women's Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, actress and high profile anti-sexual assault advocate Rose McGowan gave a powerful speech, telling the assembled crowd, "I'm just like you," as she continued her recent high-profile advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

The conference, an extension of the massive Women's March protests that unfolded in January, comes amid a firestorm of attention and scrutiny directed toward powerful men accused of sexual assault, and the institutions and cultures that protect them. McGowan, has been at the center of that conversation as it's played out on social media, castigating the Hollywood establishment in recent weeks as years worth of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein have come to light.

Weinstein, for his part, has categorically denied claims of non-consensual sex. McGowan, on the other hand, has publicly accused the producer of raping her, and spoke out at the convention Friday in her first public appearance since the scandal exploded into the national consciousness.

"I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I’ve been maligned. And you know what? I’m just like you," the 44-year-old McGowan said. She continued:

Because what happened to me, behind the scenes, happens to all of us in this society. And that cannot stand, and it will not stand. We are free. We are strong. We are one massive collective voice. That is what #RoseArmy is about. It’s about all of us being roses in our own life. Not me, but the actual flower because we have thorns, and our thorns carry justice. And our thorns carry consequence.

McGowan continued, calling Hollywood a "mirror" and a "messaging system for your mind, and denying that it's some sort of "isolated thing":

Hollywood may seem like it’s an isolated thing, but it is not. It is the messaging system for your mind. It is the mirror that you’re given to look in to: This is what you are as a woman. This is what you are as a man. This is what you are as a boy, girl, gay, straight, transgender but it’s all told through 96 percent males in the Directors Guild of America.

McGowan did not refer to Weinstein by name, only once obliquely referencing him as "the monster," and saying the past few weeks have been "triggering" to her thanks to his face being displayed everywhere.

"I want to thank you for being here for giving me wings during this very difficult time. The triggering has been insane, the monster’s face everywhere," she said. "My nightmare."

She followed up by making an apparent reference to the Steubenville rape case of 2013, in which two high school football players were ultimately convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl following an attempted cover-up.

I know I’m not alone because I’m just the same as the girl in the tiny town who was raped by the football squad, and they had full dominance and control over their little town newspaper. There really is no actual difference. It’s the same situation and that situation must end because it is not our shame. The Scarlet Letter is theirs. It is not ours. We are pure. We are strong. We are brave, and we will fight.

McGowan also referenced an infamous quote uttered by President Donald Trump back in 2005, when he was recorded speaking to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush aboard a bus about grabbing women's genitals. Trump has vehemently denied ever actually engaging in the kind of behavior he boasted about in the tape, although after it came out, more than a dozen women accused of him of such behavior. She said:

I came to be a voice for all of us who have been told that we are nothing. For all us who have been looked down on. For all of us who have been grabbed by the motherf**king p*ssy.

It was a powerful speech by McGowan, and one that will surely resonate, coming at the same time as several high-profile men have found themselves publicly accused of sexual assault and harassment. And perhaps the biggest takeaway message she had to offer was the following: "It's time to clean house."