‘Sick rituals’

Evan Rachel Wood testifies before Congress about grisly experiences with rape and domestic violence

Evan Rachel Wood. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Actress Evan Rachel Wood shared her harrowing experience with domestic abuse and rape before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, as anti-sexual violence groups lead a push to pass a bill to provide survivors of sexual assault with basic protections and rights. During her testimony, Wood said that the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements had inspired to share her experiences and to help provide other victims with support.

“My experience with domestic violence was this: the toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me, raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,” Wood told the committee of the abuse she endured from a former boyfriend.

“The worst part — sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proven my love for them,” she added. “In this moment, while I was tied up and being beaten, and being told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die, not just because my abuser said to me, ‘I could kill you right now,’ but because in that moment I felt like I left my body, and I was too afraid to run.”

Wood had previously told Rolling Stone about the alleged rapes she suffered at the hands of a former boyfriend, as well as a separate incident where she was raped by the owner of a bar in a locked storage closet. Her appearance before the committee came as anti-sexual violence organization Rise and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network are leading a push for states to guarantee victims of sexual assault access to medical examination and rape kits.

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President Obama, entitled sexual assault survivors to a free forensic medical examination and a sexual assault evidence kit that is preserved on their behalf. But the bill, which only applies to federal cases, was meant to be a template for other states to follow. To date, only nine states have passed their own Survivors’ Bill.

Watch footage of her testimony below.

Read the full story at USA Today and The Washington Post.

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