With the very public accusations of Harvey Weinstein raping multiple women and the details of decades of sexual harassment against women working in the film industry, a lot of people are talking about how this happens.
Along with rightful condemnations, there are also people asking why these women -- some of whom are quite famous -- stayed quiet for so long.
Evan Rachel Wood, herself an actress and also a rape survivor, has made a lengthy video in which she shares her thoughts on why women -- herself included -- don't come forward sooner.
In the lengthy but captivating video titled "I'm here to tell you that I'm afraid," Evan Rachel Wood first discusses the politicization of the Harvey Weinstein story and how both sides of the political aisle aren't helping anyone by trying to make it a political issue.
She's right -- it doesn't matter what side of the aisle a rapist is on. We should all stand united against that sort of evil.
Then she talks about what makes women so often take so long to report sexual assaults.
"In this case, and in many cases, when women come forward with a story about sexual assault or sexual harassment, people are very quick to try to discredit them or knock them down or look for any sign of foul play or any reason not to believe them."
That is a tragic reality. Everyone plays a volunteer defense attorney.
"I think that some of this comes from trying to protect innocent people from being accused falsely."
Keep in mind that false accusations, though extremely rare in proportion to the number of actual sexual assaults, do occasionally happen.
"But we've got to find a way to find a balance, because right now, people are wondering why more women didn't come forward sooner. And why in a lot of these cases, one woman will come out multiple women will come out and then the floodgates are open."
She explains why that happens.
"People are wondering why women don't come forward sooner or why they come out in numbers. It's because it's safer. They do not feel safe enough to do so. Period."
Safety in numbers, right?
"And I'm guilty of this as well, because I have not named my abusers."
That is totally her choice to make. None of us can decide for her.
"Not because I don't plan on saying people's names eventually, but because ... to start that process is an emotionally draining, financially draining, really everything-draining thing to do."
That's sadly true. It's not uncommon for wealthy rapists to sue their victims into silence. Rape is very difficult to prove in our justice system, sadly, which also means that it's difficult to prove if you're sued for slander or defamation for calling someone out on being a sexual predator.
And lawsuits are horribly expensive. You can win a lawsuit and still go bankrupt.
But she says that she'll do it when she's ready.
"If you want to know who my perpetrators were, they were very powerful, very rich, very entitled, very narcissistic white men."
That is, unfortunately, not an uncommon profile for sexual predators.
"And I haven't named my abusers for a number of reasons. One, I'm one person against some very powerful people. Two, money and time and re-traumatizing yourself. To go after the person who assaulted you takes quite a toll. It is a terrifying thing to have to go through."
With members of the public scrutinizing everything you've said and done out of what looks like some perverse drive to defend the accused, it sure sounds terrifying.
"Mainly because you're at risk of not being believed, you career being hurt, you being drained of your finances. Because it costs a lot of money to file a lawsuit and to go to court with somebody. Especially if all that you have is your word against theirs."
Like we said, wealth can be a powerful suit of armor against all sorts of allegations.
"And especially if these are very powerful people. Once again, you're at the mercy of your abusers. And you've kicked a hornet's nest. And you have a target on your back."
Evan Rachel Wood speaks about how all of this can be discouraging to women who have been raped by less powerful men, too.
"Look at all of the people that have gone free. There is something in society that tells us not to trust women. And there's something in society that makes us desensitized."
That is a sad, sad reality.
As for why Evan Rachel Wood doesn't name the men who assaulted her, even though they might prey upon other women?
"I am not ready to go through that and to relive those things."
We absolutely do not blame her. No one can make that decision for a survivor of any kind of assault or abuse.