Actress Kristina Cohen, best known for her work in television series such as Californication and The Middle, has accused former Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick of rape.
“I was woken up abruptly by Ed on top of me, his fingers entering my body,” the 27-year-old alleges in a lengthy Facebook post.
In response, 30-year-old Westwick has denied knowing Cohen and said he has “never forced himself in any manner, on any woman”.
Cohen alleges the incident took place three years ago, when she and her then-boyfriend (who remains unidentified, except as ‘a producer’) visited Ed at his house where she met him for the first time.
“I wanted to leave when Ed suggested ‘we should all f*ck’ but the producer didn’t want to make Ed feel awkward,” Cohen writes. “Ed insisted we stay for dinner. I said I was tired and wanted to leave, trying to get out of what was already an uncomfortable situation. Ed suggested I nap in the guest bedroom.”
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The next thing Cohen claims she remembers is being woken up by Westwick’s fingers.
“I told him to stop, but he was strong. I fought him off as hard as I could but he grabbed my face in his hands, shaking me, telling me he wanted to f*ck me,” Cohen alleges.
“I was paralysed, terrified. I couldn’t speak, I could no longer move. He held me down and raped me.”
Cohen labelled the ordeal a "nightmare" that didn't get any better with time - particularly as her mother died only months later.
She said her producer boyfriend "put the blame" on her, and discouraged her from speaking out or pressing charges.
"[He told] me that I couldn't say anything because Ed would have people come after me, destroy me, and that I could forget about an acting career," her Facebook post reads.
"[He said] there’s no way I can go around saying Ed 'raped' me and that I don’t want to be 'that girl'."
More than anything, Cohen said she felt 'guilty' in the aftermath. And that only now, in the wake of the allegations against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein and the harrowing #MeToo movement, has she found a way to speak out.
"Even now, I grapple with feelings of guilt. Unfounded worry that in some way I was to blame. I don’t know where these feelings come from," she wrote. "Social conditioning that everything is always the woman’s fault? That a man’s inability to keep himself off of our bodies is somehow because of us, not him?"
Westwick, who is currently working on the BBC series White Gold, has responded to the allegations, posting a statement to Instagram that reads simply:
"I do not know this woman. I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape."
To conclude her Facebook post, Cohen laments the way men in Hollywood who have been accused of being abusers are celebrated for their achievements.
"I’m sickened to see men like Ed respected in such a public way. Interviewed by prestigious platforms such as the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University, where he was honored as one of their 'People who Shape our World'."
"I now realise the ways in which these men in power prey on women, and how this tactic is used so frequently in our industry, and surely, in many others."
If this post brings up any issues for you, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.