real life

How Busy Philipps feels about her rape at age 14, 25 years on.


Busy Philipps is known for her honesty and willingness to share intimate details of her life – especially through her incredibly popular Instagram stories.

But in her new book, This Will Only Hurt A Little, the actress and TV show host details a moment in her life that she only shared with those closest to her decades afterwards: her rape at the age of 14.

Busy goes into graphic detail about the painful experience in her best-selling memoir. When she spoke to Mamamia ahead of the premiere of her new talk show, Busy Tonight, she said her feelings towards that day and the then-teenager who abused her have evolved over time.

“It’s an evolution,” the Freaks and Geeks actress told Mamamia. “It’s a thing that changes all the time – the way I think about it and how it affects me. And sometimes it doesn’t and I feel fine – and sometimes it does.”

“And I think that’s a very common experience for somebody who has experienced any form of sexual assault.”


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In her book, Busy describes how it took her a long time to fully comprehend what had happened to her when a boy three years older than her had forceful, “painful” sex with her in the back of his car.

“I convinced myself not only that it wasn’t a big deal, but also that it was normal and that’s what sex was and [he] must be super into me. Like, he must want to be my boyfriend! How insane! Clearly he loves me? And I guess I love him too? That must be what it means when you have sex with someone like that,” the mum-of-two wrote.

“Obviously I know how ridiculous it was to think that, but I was 14, insecure, and painfully inexperienced.”

For a long time after that, Busy said she struggled with the idea that she in some way may have allowed it to happen, by initiating first contact.


“I unbuckled his belt,” she wrote. “It has f***ed me in the head again and again, almost always in new ways. Showing up when I least expect it.”

“My only hope is that my girls grow up in a culture that truly understands consent and that they’re never left to question if violence means someone cares for them.”

The actress first went public with her experience last month in an Instagram post, inspired by the bravery of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who shared her story of alleged sexual assault and attempted rape at the hands of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.


Busy told Mamamia that she felt the #MeToo and Times Up movements were so important because they empower women like her, who hadn’t shared the “horrible things that have happened to them”, to finally tell their stories.

“All of this silence just helps perpetrates rape culture,” she said.

Busy, whose real name is Elizabeth Jean, said that where she felt she played her part as a feminist was in helping to progress society’s understanding of what are and aren’t acceptable ways of talking about and treating women.

“I think that for some men, [stories of sexual assault and harassment] are shocking to them. They are genuinely are taken aback when they found out things,” the Dawson’s Creek star told Mamamia.

READ MORE: How Busy Philipps went from a little-known actress to the host of her own TV show.

However, Busy said when it came to the stories of alleged sexual misconduct women had shared about her former Freaks and Geeks co-star James Franco, she didn’t feel that they were necessarily related to her own experience of his bullying on set.

“It was definitely a part of my story in terms of my introduction into what a woman working in comedy was – and that was to me the import of including it and why I wanted to,” she told Mamamia.


Busy said that in telling her story through her memoir and sharing details of her life through social media, she sometimes found it difficult to navigate the privacy of her family.

“The book was a little bit tricky for my parents and my family because I am so open and that’s my choice, but maybe it’s not their choice, or what they would have preferred or the way they share their lives,” she said.

“But they are also incredibly understanding of the kind of person I am and the kind of things I value. Overall I just have nothing but support from Marc [Silverstein], my husband, my parents or my sister.

“I feel like these conversations are really important to be having and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Busy will be having more conversations about pop culture, current affairs and entertainment – with some of her favourite celebrity friends and guests – four nights a week in her new TV show, Busy Tonight.

“The show’s just going to be a lot of fun. Half an hour at the end of your night. Get your cosy jammies on, and have a glass of wine and chill out with us.”

Busy Tonight Premieres on E! Tuesday 30 October at 10pm.

If you have experienced sexual assault or family violence, you can always phone 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website.