Actress AnnaLynne McCord, best known for starring in the “90210” and “Dallas” reboots, revealed that she was raped at 18, and was traumatized years earlier by physical abuse she endured at the hands of her “extremely religious” parents.
“When I was 18, I moved to Los Angeles to audition for roles. My boyfriend planned to come later. One night, a guy friend called. He said he needed a good night’s sleep for a meeting, as he’d been crashing on someone’s couch,” McCord wrote in a Cosmopolitan article published on Thursday. “I had known him for some time, so I said to come over and I set him up with a clean towel. We sat on the bed and talked for a while, then I fell asleep. When I woke up, he was inside me.”
McCord, now 26, said she is speaking up about her past in an effort to tell women of all ages to speak up themselves, either before, during or after a sexual assault. She knows, however, it’s easier said than done.
“At first, I felt so disoriented and numb, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. I wondered if I had done something to give him the wrong idea. I felt afraid of making him angry. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to offend him,” McCord continued. “My childhood had come back to haunt me again: Because of the physical abuse, I didn’t believe there were borders between other people’s bodies and my own. I didn’t believe I had a voice.”
McCord, originally from Georgia, was raised by a nondenominational Christian pastor and stay-at-home mom, who she described as so “extremely religious and conservative,” that she felt as if she was “living in 1902.”
“My parents believed in strict ‘discipline,’ as they called it — I would call it abuse,” McCord wrote. “The punishments were painful and ritualistic. We would have to bend over the bed, sometimes with our pants down, arms outstretched, and get spanked — with a ruler in our younger years and later with a paddle that my parents bought when they thought the ruler wasn’t strong enough.”
The complicated emotions she had be suppressing bubbled to the surface a few years ago when filming a “90210” episode, in which her character, Naomi, was raped by a close friend. Although the scene led to another emotional breakdown (previously, McCord considered suicide during a moment of hopeless loneliness), it also sparked a conversation she had been waiting her whole life to have with other women.
“The story line gave me an opportunity. I talked to viewers about rape, and I heard from young women across the country. It took me my whole journey to get to the place where I am today,” McCord wrote. “I have my message for women and girls: You have a voice. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t let the polite lies of society silence you. Honestly, I would endure everything all over again — it has led me to my own revolution.”