‘Black-ish’ Star Jenifer Lewis Says She Convinced a Man Not to Rape Her

“It was the greatest performance of my life,” actress says

jenifer lewis
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“Black-ish” star Jenifer Lewis said she literally acted her way out of being sexually assaulted.

Lewis recently detailed an experience from her early 20s to PEOPLE, saying she opened her door to who she assumed was a delivery man who tried to rape her in New York City. “Suddenly a guy came into my apartment with a knife,” the actress said. “He tried to rape, but I talked myself out of that. It was the greatest performance of my life.”

The actress said she was able to convince her would-be rapist that she had a sexually transmitted disease that he would contract if he tried to force sex on her.

Lewis recounts the traumatic incident she said took place in her youth, along with her struggles with sex addiction and bipolar disorder, in her new memoir “The Black Mother of Hollywood.” You can read an excerpt from the book given to PEOPLE below:

“I shouldn’t be doing this!” [the attacker said.] “Especially to a sister. They locked me up for some s– I didn’t do! I just got out.”

Suddenly I saw how skinny, fragile, and vulnerable this kid was. I sat down next to him and put my arm around his shoulder.

“I’m sorry that happened to you. I will help you. Let me give you my number and you can call me.”

“I’m sorry. I know you are gonna tell, but I just want you to know I am sorry.”

He was not evil. He was just f— up. He left and I stood in shock. Then I fell to my knees and fainted.

Lewis is one of many women in Hollywood to speak out about sexual misconduct in the wake of allegations posed against producers Harvey Weinstein and Brett Ratner and actors Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven and Dustin Hoffman.