A woman who accused Hollywood director Brett Ratner of rape has said that the director is trying to silence her — and send a message to his other accusers — by suing her for defamation.
“When everything feels like it’s stacked against you, I want women to have the courage to speak out anyway,” Melanie Kohler told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “I have so much respect for these women who are coming forward and sharing these humiliating things that happened to them.”
“It’s not something that you ever want to tell anybody,” she added. “It makes people look at you differently. Or at least, that’s the way it has been. I’m hoping that the culture is changing.”
Last month, Kohler had spoken out about an alleged rape she suffered at the hands of Ratner about 12 years ago after she met the director at a club. Kohler said she never came forward about the assault because she didn’t believe “anyone would be willing to go up against someone so powerful,” and because she didn’t want to acknowledge to herself that it happened.
“By saying it out loud, it made it more real,” she told ABC News. “I just bottled it up and tried to never think about it again.
Kohler’s fears of retaliation by the director were realized just an hour and half after her Facebook post, when she got a call from Ratner’s attorney threatening to sue her for defamation. Kohler removed the post, but Ratner filed a suit against her anyway last week — an action that Kohler’s lawyer suggested was meant to send a message to the six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, who had since come forward with their own accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Ratner.
“We’re here to send a very strong message that it’s not going to stop Melanie from speaking,” said Kohler’s lawyer, Robbie Kaplan. “And it’s not going to stop other women from speaking.”
Watch Kohler’s interview with ABC News below.
Read the full story at ABC News.