It's official: 2018 has been Tiffany Haddish's year, and in the time since her career has blown up, she's become known for how outspoken she is, especially on topics that are important to her. This time, she's talking about something that far too many women have experienced in their own lives. In her new cover story for Glamour, published on Tuesday, Haddish opened up about her sexual assault, and as heartbreaking as it is to read, her comments show that no matter what happens, she's always taking charge of her own story and using her voice in ways that matter.
Warning: This article contains mentions of rape, which some may find triggering.
While talking to Glamour, Haddish opened up about being raped by a police cadet at 17 years old. She told the magazine that, at the time, she did report it, but even today, she's not sure that justice is ever possible — at least, not yet.
"That whole experience put me in such a messed-up place for a long time, and I ended up going to counseling,” she said, adding, "Me just yelling out people’s names with no thought behind it is pointless. I need a plan. I could be a voice, but what’s a voice going to do — just keep talking? Or is there action behind it?”
This isn't the first time Haddish has talked about this incident publicly. Last year, Haddish opened up about her assault on a podcast called The Champs, saying that it happened when she was 17, the night of her homecoming dance.
According to her, the cadet told he he was 18 and that he wanted to hook her up with his younger brother, but when he offered to pick her up from the dance, things got violent. She said,
"So we get there and we get to his place and I see, like, handcuffs and a police uniform and I'm like, 'what's that? Is that a halloween costume or something?' And he's like, 'no I'm a cadet, I'm training to be in the police force. I want to end up being a police officer.' ... Next thing I know, I've got one arm up in the handcuff, and he's got me pinned down."
Haddish said he took her virginity that night, even though she said she was fighting him through it, even biting him hard enough that he bled.
As she said in her Glamour interview, because of that situation, she's developed a certain defense mechanism to protect her from something like that happening to her again. Haddish said,
“I notice that men are afraid of women that are aggressive. So to protect myself I become semi-aggressive. You hear about, ‘Tiffany always hitting on somebody,’ but that’s to keep them from hitting on me.”
And when it comes to men in Hollywood trying to use their power over her to pressure her into sex? Haddish said she's fought back against that when it's happened to her, too. “I’ve had experiences where directors or producers are like, ‘You want this job?’ ” she said. “I might get real bossy and say, ‘First off, don’t nobody want to see your little d*ck!’ I get loud, all that.”
Between her assault and growing up in foster care, Haddish has definitely gone through a lot of things that no one should have to deal with, especially not at such a young age. But if one thing's for sure, it's that she's controlling the way her story is told, and there's a lot to admire about that.
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.