Two-time Academy Award-winning actress and women’s rights activist Jane Fonda says she was sexually abused as a girl and was raped.
“To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females, I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault, that I didn’t do or say the right thing,” Fonda, 79, told fellow Oscar winner Brie Larson, 27, in an interview posted Thursday at Net-a-Porter.com’s online fashion magazine, The Edit.
Speaking in the context of women brought up in a patriarchal culture that can diminish them, the star of films such as “On Golden Pond,” “The China Syndrome” and “Coming Home” added: “I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said “no” the wrong way.’ One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”
In 2013, Fonda wrote in her blog that her mother, socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, second wife of film legend Henry Fonda, “was sexually abused as a young girl, long before people knew the lifelong damage it causes or that there are ways to heal the wounds — the worst of which are not what happens physically but what is done to the identity, the emotions, the brain of the victim, particularly if the person is not believed, not understood, not heard.” Her mother committed suicide at age 42.
Fonda, who stars with Lily Tomlin in the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie,” also addressed the pay gap between female stars and their better-paid male counterparts. The star revealed that even at the height of her career in the ’70s and ’80s she “never got paid a huge amount of money — I never thought I was worth it. For me, it was just the way things were. Guys earned more. I am so glad people are feeling righteous anger about it now.”