'90210' Star AnnaLynne McCord Bravely Reveals Horrifying Past Abuse

AnnaLynne McCordActress AnnaLynne McCord, who you may remember from Nip/Tuck, Dallas, or 90210, has a 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." McCord is speaking out in a new Cosmopolitan essay titled, "Why I'm Done Staying Quiet About My Sexual Assault," and in it she details the physical abuse she endured as a child -- which she believes taught her to keep silent when she was sexually assaulted at 18.

It's a tough essay to read, but it's also inspiring to see how McCord went from her lowest point, which included a suicide attempt, to experiencing what she calls "my own revolution."

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McCord opens by saying she believes it's time to be open about what happened to her, despite her upbringing which taught her to stay quiet:

My parents believed in strict “discipline,” as they called it — I would call it abuse. The punishments were painful and ritualistic. We would have to bend over the bed, sometimes with our pants down, arms outstretched, and get spanked — with a ruler in our younger years and later with a paddle that my parents bought when they thought the ruler wasn’t strong enough. I found it all very confusing. I knew my mom and dad loved me, and I loved them too. I still do. My dad always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But at the same time, my parents hurt me, which told me they hated me. I know they were doing what they thought was right to discipline their kids. But it really messed me up.

She goes on to describe a specific incident that happened when she was a teenager and a male friend crashed at her apartment:

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.

She was eventually able to tell him to stop, but the experience led her to a dark place emotionally:

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. (...) I lay on my bed in a hotel in Madrid for days, feeling increasingly alone and hopeless. 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.

McCord has since gotten better with professional help, and she's also spoken with survivors of sexual slavery in Southeast Asia, turned a triggering 90210 rape storyline into a healing dialogue, and plans to go on a college speaker tour this fall. Good for her for being brave enough to share her story, because who knows how many young women she may have helped feel less alone -- or more empowered -- by doing so.


Image via bbcworldservice/Flickr

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