Former Dutch model Faviola Dadis, who earlier this year accused actor Steven Seagal sexually assaulting her during a 2002 audition, said she regrets having done any press on her accusations after a local Dutch TV network, RTL, doubted her account on live TV.
Dadis said she was blindsided by the Dutch entertainment reporter, Olcay Gulsen, who according to Dadis remarked during the broadcast that her accusations against the action star lacked credibility.
“She was just basically bashing me and my character and saying that she didn’t believe anything I said,” Dadis told TheWrap.
(Neither Gulsen nor the show’s producer responded to requests for comment, though Dadis said she received an apology from the producer.)
The experienced left her so traumatized, it was the last interview she did, until now.
“That killed me,” she said. She said.
In January, Dadis accused Seagal of fondling her breasts and grabbing her crotch during a 2002 audition for what he called a “romantic scene” at the W Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Dadis said she quickly ended the audition but that when she tried to leave the room, Seagal’s security guard blocked her way. “I began yelling, ‘I need to leave right now, this is B.S., I need to leave right now!’ He motioned to his security guard to let me go and I ran out,” she said. Seagal’s lawyer has denied the accusations.
She’s been surprised by the negative reactions she’s gotten since coming forward, most notably from other women.
“You’d think a woman would understand what it means to be violated in this way,” she said. “I was surprised that women themselves were making salacious comments towards me, especially on social media.”
Since first telling her story to TheWrap, Dadis held a press conference in March along with her attorney Lisa Bloom and another Seagal accuser, former actress Regina Simons. Dadis has since returned to Amsterdam, where she’s finishing her doctorate in neuroscience.
How have you been since we last talked?
I thought this would bring me closure, and it has in many ways, but it also brought up a lot things that I didn’t expect… I didn’t anticipate that something that I had gone to therapy years ago would bring about so much post-traumatic stress, basically triggering the entire incident over and over again.
Your story went viral. What was the reaction to it back home?
There were 55,000 articles written around the world about my story. It was really interesting to see the positive feedback that I got. But also the negative feedback, which surprisingly came from other women. You’d think a woman would understand what it means to be violated in this way. I was surprised that women themselves were making salacious comments towards me, especially on social media.
One man sent me a note telling me that after I came out, he took his daughter to lunch and explained to her what it means to be safe, and how to say no. But then of course you have comments like, “Oh, you’re doing this for money and you just want publicity.” So, that was really difficult.
Did the Dutch media cover your story?
The media here were very interested. I did one interview with a major newspaper and one interview with a television show. It was a horrible experience. The [TV] reporter wasn’t even a reporter. She was a B-list local celebrity… I thought we’d discuss how I feel, the aftermath.
But after the interview aired, she said on live TV that she didn’t believe it… She was just basically bashing me and my character and saying that she didn’t believe anything I said. That killed me. I wrote to her producer, who apologized profusely.
What exactly did she say?
She said she wasn’t there so she couldn’t say what really happened. But she made it clear that she didn’t believe me. It was the last interview I did.
Any positive moment?
A friend who is a professor and teaches an anthropology and social studies class at Vu University, Amsterdam, showed me their course textbooks, which has been updated over the summer to include relevant social movements such as #MeToo. There’s an actual article about me from the papers and a section at the end of the chapter where the students have to reflects upon different aspects. The section included questions about me… It made me cry and blew me away.
Last time we spoke, you had gone back to therapy. How are you now?
I’m still going to therapy on a regular basis to discuss this… I have high-functioning autism so for me it’s a very difficult thing to process.
Reliving this experience over and over has caused a lot of stress. It’s still ongoing. I’m feeling better than the last time we talked but i’m still going through it.
You filed a lawsuit against Seagal. Where does that stand?
I spoke to the D.A.’s office [in Los Angeles]. With a criminal case such as mine, where a minor is involved… the D.A. has one year after the case was filed to consider prosecutions. The case is still under review.
It’s still difficult because it’s ongoing. When it happened I sort of pushed it under the carpet because I thought it wasn’t a real rape… He groped me with his finger in the vaginal area so people kept telling me, “At least he didn’t rape you.” But it’s still a huge gross violation of my boundaries and it’s really difficult, after so many years of not dealing with it, to have to piece together what happened.
Any regrets about coming forward?
I don’t have any regrets… You can’t prepare yourself for something like this. I didn’t have any expectations. I’ve never done anything like this before. I didn’t know how intense it was going to be or how much PTSD it was going to bring up. It struck me how much it has impacted the way I look at men in powerful positions and question whether they have an ulterior motive.
It just all came rushing back and I felt like a young 17-year-old who didn’t understand why anyone had done that to me.