As the #MeToo movement continues to gain traction, one celebrity in particular has not shied away from speaking out about the glaring injustices that have been taking place in Hollywood and the entertainment industry for far too long. Some might call Rose McGowan the ringleader in the ongoing fight against sexual harassment and violence after coming forward with rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein last fall.
In the subsequent months, the former Charmed actress, director, and activist has rallied women together, both on social media, with her candid tweets, and in-person, through various lectures and discussion circles to combat inequality (her loyal band of followers even has a hashtag: #ROSEARMY). Now, she’s taking her efforts to print with her much-hyped memoir, Brave, out today from HarperOne.
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One of the most revealing chapters, titled “Death of Self,” graphically details her sexual abuse at the hands of Weinstein in a jacuzzi at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, where she was promoting her film Phantoms. “I am naked, up to my knees in hot water,” she writes. “I curl into myself. I did what so many who experience trauma do, I disassociated and left my body. I went up above myself.” Following the assault, McGowan says that she went directly to a photo-op for MTV with her costar, Ben Affleck, and told him what happened. “I am shaking and my eyes fill with tears; I say where I’ve just come from, and my costar stays, ‘Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that,'” she writes. (Affleck has not publicly responded to allegations that he was aware of the abuse.)
Scroll down for more surprising revelations gleaned from her pages.
She grew up in a religious cult in Italy.
Before McGowan moved to Hollywood, she was part of the Children of God cult. The actress gets candid about how it took a toll on her self-worth. “Never once growing up was I told that I was intelligent, smart, or beautiful,” she writes. “I don’t know what that feels like. I was never told I could do anything I wanted if I set my mind to it. I was told I was worth nothing in the eyes of God. I was told I was going to be a whore. I was told I was dirty. And the thing is, I knew they were wrong, but the words still stung.”
She was physically abused as a child.
While briefly living in Oregon with her mother and five younger siblings, at age 10, McGowan was abused by her neighbor. “He knew I hated the N-word and he would get in my face and say it over and over until I lashed out at him, so then he had an excuse to beat me with his belt buckle,” she writes. She later moved with her dad to Seattle, where the mistreatment continued. “One night the closet door got thrown open,” she writes. “A shaft of light blinded me, but I knew it was my father standing there. He let out a yell and grabbed me by the neck. He dragged me out of the closet and onto the floor. I managed to choke out that I was going to call the cops. He said, ‘I’ll staple your tongue to the floor.’ I’ll never forget the hatred in his eyes.”
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She was involved in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend.
According to the book, an early boyfriend of McGowan, William, physically and emotionally tormented her before she was ever sexually assaulted, critiquing her weight and buying her fashion magazines to inspire her to get thinner. “One night I woke up with hands around my neck,” she writes. “I screamed and in the low light I saw that it was William squeezing my throat. His eyes were black. No one was home. I made a deep choking sound, and it snapped him out of his fog. He backed up a few steps and looked at his hands. I kept thinking that this was all some ridiculous movie I’d gotten stuck in. He pushed me onto the floor and dragged me by the back of my collar. I was screaming every curse word I knew at him. I was scared for my life. He pulled me outside, across the patio, and I tripped while he continued to drag me across stone pavers, tearing two of my toenails off.”
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