Viola Davis On The Lifelong Impact Sexual Violence Has On Women

“You could go into any prison in this country and, I guarantee you, you could trace it all back to sexual assault," she said of women inmates.

Viola Davis understands the monumental repercussions sexual assault can have on a woman’s life.

The “How To Get Away With Murder” actress spoke at Tina Brown’s 9th Annual Women in the World Summit in New York on Thursday night. She discussed everything from her love for acting to social justice and the importance of diverse representation in Hollywood.

During her discussion with MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid, Davis took a few moments to break down the lifetime effect sexual violence has on its victims.

“Women always say that’s the day that they died,” Davis said, referring to the day victims were sexually assaulted. “And that trauma escalates into side effects that are life-changing.”

Davis said the trauma of sexual assault can trigger suicidal thoughts, addiction issues, body dysmorphic issues and so much more.

“You could go into any prison in this country and, I guarantee you, you could trace it all back to sexual assault,” she added, speaking of women inmates.

Watch another highlight from Davis’ interview below.

Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). Women and girls experience sexual violence at a much higher rate than boys and men, while transgender people experience sexual violence at the highest rate.

“We have 324 million people in this country, 51 percent are women, and trust me when one is traumatized and it escalates — it escalates into rage issues, incarceration, murder — all kinds of things,” Davis continued.

When Reid asked if there’s any way to depict sexual assault realistically and genuinely in Hollywood films, Davis responded honestly.

“When we go to see movies, we want our buttered popcorn and diet soda and Sour Patch Kids — we want to escape,” she said.

She added later: “There’s not a whole lot of laughs in truth sometimes.”

Watch Davis’ full Women in the World interview below.

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