Ashley Judd gave an impassioned speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Monday about the need to end male sexual violence and the consequences she has faced for speaking out, including losing her job.
“Sexual violence among men is the benefit we are not willing to accept, and for me it is simply the hill I am willing to die on,” Judd said. “I have seen too much pain, too many shattered souls, and too many women controlled and held back as farmers, as public servants, as contributors to their communities, because they could not plan and schedule the births of their children, because when they When they introduce family planning, they are beaten, or used for housework and fetching water, cooking and cleaning, while their sons eat more than them.”
Judd, a global goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, has been outspoken on the issue of sexual violence against women and has gone public as one of Harvey Weinstein’s named accusers. The New York Times exposé in 2017. She began her speech on Monday by listing various forms of sexual violence that she said she had faced since the age of 7, and then expanded the issue to examples she has seen around the world and has seen locally, including how the porn industry has normalized violent behavior against women, such as choking.
“And yet some say boys will be boys, but we say here today that we love them and they will be held accountable for their actions, their attitudes and their sins of omission. And honestly, I’m tired of the emphasis on building resilience in girls and women, because we need to look upstream and see where this need for resilience comes from,” Judd said.
The actress added that she was labeled a “man hater” and lost jobs for speaking out against sexual violence, especially after reading a spoken poem at the Women’s March in Washington DC that featured President Trump’s infamous comments about the female anatomy were quoted.
“Now it seems like you’re with me, but I kind of assumed this is the part where I lost everyone and the media calls me a man hater and of course my social media is all over with rape and death threats. I’m used to that,” Judd said. “This will be it, because we are here to tell the truth. This is telling the truth to the patriarchy. Just like when I lost a big job after the Women’s March. I quoted the president. He said it, he was elected. Quoting him, I was fired and lost income that would have changed my life.
Still, Judd said she hopes there is a solution to “ending men’s right to a female body,” starting with a change in the ecosystems that keep women from having equal access to education and other opportunities, and with more grassroots organizations that support women. political candidates and men coming forward and speaking out about the need for change. She also gave an example of meeting a young Syrian refugee who was a victim of rape and talked about her experiences.
“So join her and me in telling the truth about male sexual violence. Spread the word at your workplace. Spread the word on the street. Tell it on public transport. Tell it in your bedrooms,” she said.