AnnaLynne McCord opened up about being raped by someone she knew and the devastating aftermath — which, for a time, led to cutting and to contemplating suicide — and how she has survived and wants to help other women. The ‘Dallas’ and ‘90210’ star made the stunning revelations in a first-person narrative in Cosmopolitan magazine.
It is not the usual celebrity fodder. Under the title, ‘Why I’m Done Staying Quiet About My Sexual Assault,’ the 26-year-old actress opens up in Cosmopolitan magazine and in so doing is letting the world know that she is not content to be silent any more.
AnnaLynne McCord spoke of an experience on the set of ‘90210’ in which her character, Naomi, had been raped by a person that she knew. She told the publication, “I welcomed the story line, thinking it was important for viewers. I memorized my lines and rehearsed the scenes. I felt ready to go. Then when the cameras were rolling on an intense scene — a fight with an unsupportive friend after the assault — I broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. My castmates thought I had done a great job playing the part. They had no idea that I had actually been sexually assaulted by someone I knew in real life.”
She put her emotional reaction in context, saying that in growing up in an “extremely religious” family her “candor” got her “in a lot of trouble” and she had learned to “stay quiet” and to keep her feelings to herself. She detailed some of the “painful and ritualistic” punishments she had undergone as a child and that the extreme physical discipline had “really messed [her] up.” But she went on to note that she is not going to be silent any longer, she says, as she is in “spiritual warrior mode.”
She spoke about moving to Miami where she became a model and “became sort of promiscuous but didn’t actually have sex.” She went on to say, “I’d get right there with the guy and then stop, thinking I’d go to hell. Then I’d go to church to cleanse myself.”
She went on to say, “At the same time, I pushed men to be violent toward me. After all, as I had learned in my childhood, people who loved me hurt me. I would slap the guys, antagonize them, until I believed they wanted to hit me. My sexual relationships were dark and violently dramatic.”
Later when she was in L.A. pursuing her acting career she said that a “guy friend” whom she had known for a long time asked to spend the night at her place so as to be able to get a good night’s sleep.
She spoke of what happened next, saying, “We sat on the bed and talked for a while, then I fell asleep. When I woke up, he was inside me. At first, I felt so disoriented and numb, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. I wondered if I had done something to give him the wrong idea. I felt afraid of making him angry. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to offend him. I just wanted it to be over. My childhood had come back to haunt me again: Because of the physical abuse, I didn’t believe there were borders between other people’s bodies and my own. I didn’t believe I had a voice.”
In the aftermath, McCord said, “I acted strong — fake strong. Over the next few months, I began to go dark. My friends would invite me to events where the guy would be, and I would stay away. Then one night, I did go to a club with friends, and I saw him there. We made eye contact and I felt like throwing up. I turned and ran, sprinting into traffic.”
She spoke of outward confidence, of landing a role in “Nip/Tuck” but she said that during that time, she was “reeling” privately. She said, “I would drive to a secluded place, park underneath a tree, and write dark poetry on my arm, then slice myself with a massively sharp knife, rubbing in the blood.”
She also spoke of a confrontation with the man who had raped her who then said to her, “What are you saying? What we had that night was beautiful.”
Eventually McCord opened up and told some of her friends, as well as her sister, Angel, and her boyfriend at the time. She said that “it would take an outright breakdown to truly turn things around,” and she described when happened to her in Madrid, after a fight with her boyfriend: “I had pills and water in hand and thought seriously about killing myself. I didn’t fear death — it felt like a solution. When you’re in that mode, you don’t think suicide is a selfish thing to do. You think you’re doing everyone a favor.”
Thankfully she reached out for help. She said, “I called my sister Angel; I called my dad. No answer. I got ready to swallow the pills and suddenly heard myself screaming, ‘Stop!’ Then Angel called. She got on a flight to Spain immediately. I knew she was flying to me. I calmed down. I waited for her.”
She revealed that this was the turning point for her and in the aftermath she sought out professional help. She went on to say, “I forgave myself for not standing up for myself, and I began channeling my experience into something good.”
That work now includes working with a woman in Cambodia who rescues young women and girls from sexual slavery. She also has plans to embark on a college speaking tour to further reach out to young women.
From her current vantage point, AnnaLynee McCord said, “I have my message for women and girls: You have a voice. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t let the polite lies of society silence you. Honestly, I would endure everything all over again — it has led me to my own revolution.”
Powerful and courageous, the full article in Cosmopolitan is online and can be seen here. In opening up about her experience, she is empowering others who are in various stages of recovery from similar trauma. She also shows that there is a way out, and there is healing after all of the pain, silence and suffering.