Shame is what keeps us silent about rape.
Anderson, 46, was raped at ages 6, 12, and 15. She kept that secret for 40 years to protect her mother and her privacy.
Moss, 41, was raped at age 21. She kept her secret for 20 years, till the time was right to share it. Now is the right time for both these women because fame puts a megaphone up to their experiences of rape.
When women like Anderson and Moss speak about anything – whether it’s hair or fashion or feminism – the world listens. Their voices are louder than ours. When they talk about sexual assault like this, it has the potential to change how we as a society treat survivors. And that’s nothing short of fabulous.
Anderson told a stunned crowd at the launch of her charity, The Pamela Anderson Foundation, that she was molested by a female babysitter from the age of six and raped by a 25-year-old man when she was 12. And then, this: “My first boyfriend in grade nine decided it would be funny to gang rape me (with six of his friends). Needless to say I had a hard time trusting humans — I just wanted off this earth.”
Around the same time, Australian author Tara Moss went public with her experience. She told Susan Wyndham at Good Weekend that she was raped by ‘the cool guy’ in her class in Vancouver. “The one time I was raped was as typical as every stat you hear: someone you know and trust,” she said.
Moss described the experience hauntingly: “Everything that you are gets removed. You’re not there anymore and everything you thought you were and thought the world was gets vacuumed out; you lose your footing.”
That’s what it’s like to be assaulted: world-changing, life-altering, soul-emptying.