Brooke Shields on Surviving Rape and Overcoming Trauma

Brooke Shields, the acclaimed actress and former child star, has revealed the traumatic experience of rape she suffered in her early twenties in her recent Hulu documentary "Pretty Baby".

by Faruk Imamovic
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Brooke Shields on Surviving Rape and Overcoming Trauma

Brooke Shields, the acclaimed actress and former child star, has revealed the traumatic experience of rape she suffered in her early twenties in her recent Hulu documentary "Pretty Baby". In a recent interview with People magazine, Shields reflects on the aftermath of the assault and her journey towards healing.

Surviving the Trauma

"It's taken me a long time to process it," says Shields, now 57 years old. The actress, who rose to fame as a teenager, recounts the most difficult period in her career after she experienced world fame and graduated from Princeton University.

She was trying to make her way in Hollywood after college and went to dinner with a Hollywood executive, who she knew from before and wanted to discuss potential acting projects with. After dinner, he invited her to his hotel room, where he raped her.

"I'm more angry now than I was able to be then," Shields says. "If you're afraid, you're rightfully so. They are scary situations. They don't have to be violent to be scary."

Blame and Self-Judgment

After the assault, Shields blamed herself and struggled with self-judgment. "I kept saying, 'I shouldn't have done that.

Why did I go up with him? I shouldn't have had that drink at dinner,'" she recalls. "It was really easy to disassociate because by then it was old hat. And because it was a fight-or-flight type of choice. Fight was not an option, so you just leave your body.

'You're not there. It didn't happen.' " One person she confided in was her close friend and one-time security consultant Gavin de Becker. "Brooke lived so long in the judgment of others, by the millions, so it was heartbreaking to see her judge herself," he says.

"It has also been inspiring to see her integrate the truth as she has."

Advocating for Women's Voices

Now, Shields is sharing her experience to help others. "I want to be an advocate for women to be able to speak their truth," she says.

"Everybody processes their own trauma on a different timeline. With the hopes of helping people not feel alone." By sharing her story, Shields hopes to break the silence and stigma surrounding rape and sexual assault, and empower others to speak out and heal.

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