Friday, May 30, 2014

AnnaLynne McCord: "I Was Raped And Considered Suicide"

AnnaLynne McCord spoke out about being raped in a new Cosmopolitan essay.

McCord, 26, claimed she is "done staying quiet" about the sexual assault she experienced when she was 18.

The "90210" and "Dallas" star starts her story by recalling the emotions she felt while shooting a fictional scene on her series:

"When I was on "90210" a few years ago, the character I played, Naomi, was raped by someone she knew. I welcomed the story line, thinking it was impor­tant for viewers. I memorized my lines and rehearsed the scenes. I felt ready to go. Then when the cameras were rolling on an intense scene - a fight with an unsupportive friend after the assault -I broke down, sobbing uncontrolla­bly. My castmates thought I had done a great job playing the part. They had no idea that I had actually been sexually assaulted by someone I knew in real life."

McCord refers to her "extremely religious" upbringing, which included physical abuse:

"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. I found it all very confusing. I knew my mom and dad loved me, and I loved them too. I still do. My dad always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But at the same time, my parents hurt me, which told me they hated me. I know they were doing what they thought was right to discipline their kids. But it really messed me up."

McCord finally went to Miami as a teenager to work as a model, where she became sexually active, but in a very significant way:

"I became sort of promiscuous but didn't actually have sex. I'd get right there with the guy and then stop, thinking I'd go to hell. Then I'd go to church to cleanse myself. At the same time, I pushed men to be violent toward me. After all, as I had learned in my childhood, people who loved me hurt me. I would slap the guys, antagonize them, until I believed they wanted to hit me. My sexual relationships were dark and violently dramatic."

McCord had a boyfriend who supported her to confront her parents about their abuse ("an important step"), and by 18 had moved to Los Angeles to become an actress.

AnnaLynne was still dating him when, one night, a different "guy friend" asked if he could crash at McCord's place.

Things went terribly bad:

"We sat on the bed and talked for a while, then I fell asleep. When I woke up, he was inside me. 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. I just wanted it to be over. 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 told the male to stop and then "stared at the ceiling for the rest of the night, frozen."

After that night, the actress buried the experience:

"I didn't tell anyone other than asking a friend if I should worry about getting pregnant if a man pulled out during sex. I went to an audition, then to dinner with friends. I acted strong - fake strong. Over the next few months, I began to go dark. My friends would invite me to events where the guy would be, and I would stay away. Then one night, I did go to a club with friends, and I saw him there. We made eye contact and I felt like throwing up. I turned and ran, sprinting into traffic."

McCord got a "Nip/Tuck" part, but was privately "reeling," writing that she would "drive to a secluded place, park underneath a tree, and write dark poetry on my arm, then slice myself with a massively sharp knife, rubbing in the blood."

AnnaLynne ultimately got infuriated enough about the abuse to tell some pals, her sister, and her boyfriend, but things didn't change until an "outright breakdown" a couple of years later.

After a brawl with a different boyfriend while in Madrid, McCord thought of suicide:

"I had pills and water in hand and thought seriously about killing myself. I didn't fear death - it felt like a solution. When you're in that mode, you don't think suicide is a selfish thing to do. You think you're doing everyone a favor. I called my sister Angel; I called my dad. No answer. I got ready to swallow the pills and suddenly heard myself screaming: "Stop!" Then Angel called. She got on a flight to Spain immediately. I knew she was flying to me. I calmed down. I waited for her."

It was after that creepy spiral that McCord, with professional help, began getting better and using her experience for a good purpose.

McCord met with survivors of sexual slavery in Southeast Asia, channeled the "90210" rape storyline into a dialogue with girls about sexual abuse and plans to go on a college speaker tour this fall.

McCord is quoted as saying: "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."

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