Trigger warning: This post discusses rape and sexual violence, and may be distressing for some readers.
Actor and author Joan Collins has revealed that the man who went on to become her first husband raped her at age 17.
Eighty-one-year-old Collins spoke about her past in a new documentary called Brave Miss World, which was made by former Israeli Miss World, Linor Abargil, who was raped only six weeks before being crowned in the beauty pageant.
“I was raped when I was seventeen years old,” Collins says in the documentary.Joan Collins.
Collins was discovered at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and signed to a film studio. She recalls going on a date at age seventeen with Maxwell Reed, who became her first husband two years later. Maxwell left the room to take a bath, leaving Joan to drink a rum and coke and read some ‘books’.
“The books were porn, which I’d never seen before. Hardcore porn. The next thing I knew, I was out flat on the sofa in that living room and he was raping me.”
“And what he had given me was a drug. He had drugged my drink. It was what is called in those days a Mickey Finn. Which I think today would be Rohypnol. It felt so horrible. That I…that I’d done this thing.”
Collins was a 17-year-old virgin at the time. She felt guilty following the incident, and it prompted her to accept another invitation from him.
“It wasn’t my fault but I didn’t know, I went out with him. And maybe I shouldn’t have gone out with him. He was much older than me, and he was a famous star.”Joan in the Brave Miss World documentary.
“And anyway the bottom line is that he called me, and I went out with him again. And after I’d been going out with him for a few months, he asked me to marry him. And I thought, “Well I better because you know, he took my virginity,” she says.
“I really hated him, but I was so filled with guilt, that he had done this thing to me.”
Joan recalls crying on the eve of her wedding in 1952 (age 19), but her father encouraged her to go through with it, as many people were invited.
Maxwell and Joan were divorced four years later, and he died in 1974.
The Brave Miss World documentary, which received a standing ovation last week when it premiered at the Jewish Film Festival, is encouraging women and men who have experienced sexual violence to speak out against their perpetrators.
Watch the trailer for Brave Miss World here. Trigger warning: This video discusses rape and sexual violence.