WOMEN

Jameela Jamil Discusses Experience With Sexual Assault And Rape In Candid Interview

“The Good Place” actress argued that conversations around handling rejection are key to improving sex education.

In an interview with Grazia, “The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil revealed she was raped while discussing the many times she’s had to deal with sexual assault.

“I’ve been groped maybe 20 times at rush hour, I’ve been raped. I’ve been followed. I’ve been stalked. I’ve been chased by groups of men I’ve had to outrun to save my life,” she told the outlet. “I’ve been assaulted just for saying no to a man’s phone number. I’ve been blackmailed in business in pursuit of sex. And I deal with constant rape and death threats on social media in my career.”

Jamil added that “the scariest thing is that, most of my friends have had the same experiences. Mine is not a special circumstance.” 

The actress was prompted to speak out on her own experiences with sexual assault and misconduct following an encounter she experienced while shopping with a friend over the weekend. Jamil explained in a Twitter post that when a man ogled her and approached her to giver her his number, she declined. The man responded defensively. 

“Man then threatens my career, saying I better remember that I rejected him. And then Shouts at me that I’m low class ... ” she wrote.

Jamil was inundated with stories from other women who shared their own experiences of being harassed and subsequently shamed when they stood up for themselves. The actress herself told Grazia that these scary experiences began for her at the age of 6 ― it was the first time a man “showed sexual interest in me.”

She continued that she was “11 the first time I was groped, I was 12 when a 40-year-old man grabbed my vagina on Oxford street in my school uniform at 3:30 p.m., so hard and for so long, that I bled and had to throw both of us against a wall to get him off.” 

“Ten different men in different cities have masturbated at me on public transport,” she said. “Three different people have ejaculated on my leg as a teenager on my way to school going up the escalator at the tube.” 

The actress said that a key to effecting change in sex education is starting conversations around rejection. 

“If we teach children how to take rejection, we can de-stigmatize it, and it will make men less volatile when they are turned down,” she told the outlet. “We need to generally just educate everyone about consent. Everyone of every age, because it’s clear that this is somehow still a grey area to us all.”

Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist and a clinical instructor of psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, explained to HuffPost in the past that while women are socialized to deal with rejection in a more internal way, men are conditioned to externalize rejection. 

“Young men often assume that malice is involved in the rejection,” Resnick Anderson said last year. “It’s easier to justify an aggressive reaction if you can convince yourself that you were intentionally ‘wronged.’”

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