In a brave and honest move, Sarah Hyland revealed that she was sexually assaulted in an emotional post in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who spoke out about the sexual assault allegations she made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27. (Kavanaugh has denied Ford's claims, calling them "false.") Hyland's tweet not only highlighted her solidarity with Ford, but also served as a means to open up about her own experience, too.
Warning: This article contains information about sexual assault, which some may find triggering.
Hyland's post included hashtags, such as "#whyididntreport," "#metoo," "#believewomen," and "#WeBelieveChristine," in reference to her own story and Ford's as well. The Modern Family star wrote:
"He was a friend. It was New Year's Eve my senior year of high school. Everyone was drunk. He broke in to the bathroom I was in. I hoped it was a dream but my ripped tights in the morning proved otherwise. I thought no one would believe me. I didn't want to be called dramatic. After all I didn't say no. Shock can do that to a person."
It was incredibly brave of Hyland to come forward with her statement. In doing so, she not only stood in complete solidarity with Ford, but she also stressed the importance of believing women, who open up about their experiences, especially since it usually is not easy to do so.
As noted above, the actor opened up about her #MeToo story during a time when the spotlight is focused in on Dr. Ford's claims. Ford first spoke out about the allegations in July in a letter written to Senator Dianne Feinstein. In the letter, Ford alleged that Kavanaugh, who had been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump in July, had "physically and sexually assaulted" her at a party that they attended in the 1980s when they were both in high school.
According to NBC News, a spokesperson for Kavanaugh released a statement detailing his denial of Ford's allegations: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."
Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, have also come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Kavanaugh. According to a New Yorker piece published on Sept. 23, Ramirez claims that the judge tried to assault her after he allegedly exposed himself to her during their time at Yale. In a statement given to the New Yorker, Kavanaugh said, in part, "This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen."
Swetnick accused Kavanaugh of "targeting" girls when he was a teen. He has also since denied her accusation by telling the Toronto Star, "This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened."
Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee has encouraged so many, including multiple celebrities, to open up about their own experiences. Not only did Hyland come forward with her own emotional statement, but Busy Philipps did as well. On Instgram, Philipps also noted her support for Ford while opening up about her sexual assault at the age of 14, something she only recently spoke about to her family members.
There's no doubt that opening up about these experiences has to have been incredibly difficult for all of these women. Given that difficulty, it can't be stressed enough just how courageous coming forward with their own stories is.
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.