Jane Fonda Reveals She Was Raped and Sexually Abused as a Child

Jane Fonda revealed that she was raped and sexually abused as a child during an interview conducted by fellow Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson for Net-a-Porter’s The Edit.

The legendary actress, 79, talked about growing up with a patriarchal belief system in the 1950s, and how it affected her early years. “To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females; I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child, and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss,” she told Larson. “I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.”

Jane Fonda arrives at Netflix's Rebels and Rule Breakers celebrating The Women of Netflix held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on May 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jane Fonda arrives at Netflix's Rebels and Rule Breakers celebrating The Women of Netflix held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on May 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Her past inspired her to become a feminist and a women’s rights advocate. “I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, ‘It must have been because I said ‘no’ the wrong way,’” the Grace and Frankie star said. “One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse] is not our fault. We were violated, and it’s not right.”

Jane Fonda on the cover of THE EDIT
Jane Fonda on the cover of THE EDIT

Jane, the daughter of Hollywood star Henry Fonda and sister of fellow actor Peter, explained that it took her decades to become the strong woman she is today. “It took me 60 years to learn how to say no. If anyone offered me anything I would say yes,” she said. “I took parts I wasn’t right for, and I was taken advantage of. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Now, I would say, ‘No. This is a piece of s–t. I don’t like the way you’re treating me,’ and leave. If only I knew then what I do now.”

The two-time Oscar winner — who is the mother of Mary Williams, 49, Vanessa Vadim, 48, and Troy Garity, 43 — revealed the one thing she would change about her life. “I regret that I wasn’t a better parent,” she said. “I didn’t know how to do it. But you can learn, so I studied how to be a parent. It’s never too late. I am trying to make up for what I didn’t know before. When I die, I want my family to be around me. I want them to love me, and I have to earn that. I’m still working at it.”

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