Viola Davis Gives Moving Speech to Sexual Assault Survivors

November 19th 2015

Taylor Bell

In an emotional speech at a Los Angeles benefit for the Stuart House on Tuesday, actress Viola Davis opened up about her family's past dealing with sexual assault, PopSugar reports.

Speaking on behalf of the Stuart House--a partner of the Rape Foundation that serves children and families who face sexual abuse, the Emmy award-winning actress detailed the chilling story of how her then 8-year-old sister was sexually assaulted in a nearby store late one afternoon.

"She came home and told my mom. My mom started screaming at the store owners. And they said, 'Leave that man alone. He does that to all the little girls.'" Davis said.

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Viola Davis speaks at Stuart House benefit

From that time on Davis watched her very creative sister lose her precocious spirit and become a drug addict by the age of 20, a prostitute, and a mother of six children—all of whom were taken from her by social services.

For her sister who suffered such sexual abuse, Davis expressed the importance of having a voice.

"If I had a fantasy--and I mean a fantasy--I would give her permission to speak. And I would want her in an environment where people heard her. And I would want her to be angry . Because I feel that it's not the abuser's anger that he's afraid of, it's the victim's anger that he's afraid of. And I want her to get angry because I feel like I wish she had the Stuart house to throw her a rope because her whole life would have been different."

Although Davis' sister could not escape the trauma of sexual assault, Davis is optimistic that others will take advantage of organizations like the Stuart House and be willing to voice their abuse.

"There's going be so many testimonies of winning and heroic young people," Davis said. "Who dare to speak about their abuse, dare to call out their abusers."

As for her sister, and other victims of sexual assault, Davis ended by saying this.

"This is the day that the Lord has made and I'm gonna rejoice and be glad in it because I wish I could tell me sister that she is not dirty. And that she should not feel any shame of something the she was literally not responsible for."

According to the Rape Foundation one in four girls and one in eight boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. Moreover, 44 percent of sexual abuse victims are minors and 80 percent of victims are under the age of 30.

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