When the empowering #MeToo movement kicked off earlier year, Lucy Hale opened up about her own experience with sexual assault on Twitter, US Weekly reports. Though the Life Sentence star ambiguously told US Weekly about her assault in January, Hale isn’t done talking about her about her experience, and she’s using her voice to bolster other people who might be going through similar situations.
According to People, Hale initially tweeted claims about her sexual assault in January—however, she has since deleted these tweets. Newsweek adds that, in her now-deleted tweet, Hale wrote, “I never understood sexual assault until tonight. I always sympathized, but I never felt the pain of it until right now. My dignity and pride was broken. I am completely at a loss of words.”
Sexual assault is something that we hope nobody ever has to endure, but Hale is using her story to educate and empower other survivors to talk about their own stories. During an interview with Haute Living Los Angeles, the former Pretty Little Liars actress discussed her alleged sexual assault, saying, “I think there are a lot of people who have been intoxicated and taken advantage of. It’s happened to me and people I know. It’s very common. Luckily, I’ve been unscathed; nothing’s hurt me too badly.”
Later in the interview, she said “assault is assault,” in reference to her considering her own sexual assault as being a lesser sexual crime.
Although Hale might think that what she’s “experienced stuff on the small side” sexual assault is still a severe crime, regardless of the context of the degree of the sexual assault, that impacts survivors emotionally, mentally and physically. Although it can be arduous to talk about something so vulnerable as sexual assault, Lucy Hale’s story could influence others to discuss their own encounters, so that they might be justice for these crimes—which is exactly the kind of productivity she hopes comes from her allegations.
“I feel grateful to have people that I look up to that are speaking up about things,” Hale told Haute Living. “Not just women — I think men have sometimes suffered the same way that women have.” After all, Terry Crews has transformed his allegations against his own abuser to inspire others to come forward with their own claims.
“And as long as a conversation is going or a conversation has started, which it has, that’s the best thing you could ever ask for because that makes people feel not alone. I think if powerful people can make a difference by speaking up, which they are, that will trickle down hopefully,” Hale continued.
Beyond empowering other survivors to use their own platforms to continue this necessary discussion around sexual assault and consent, Lucy Hale and others’ allegations can help other survivors feel less isolated after their trauma. Because post-traumatic stress and/or anxiety disorder and depression are common latent side effects of sexual assault, which can lead to survivors feeling overwhelmingly alone and helpless, it’s crucial to have a strong support system.