Tuesday 18 December 2018

Keira Knightley says she was sexually assaulted four times: 'Everyone has battled their fair share of monsters'

Actress Keira Knightley
Actress Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Theatre Royal on December 3, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Keira Knightley attends Harper's Bazaar Women Of The Year Awards at Claridge's Hotel on October 31, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Actress Keira Knightley (L) and composer James Righton attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley attend The New York Times' TimesTalk & TIFF In Los Angeles Presents "The Immitation Game" at The Paley Center for Media
Actress Keira Knightley and her husband, musician James Righton, arrive at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London
Actress Keira Knightley arrives at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley during the 13th BGC Annual Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London, in commemoration of the 658 employees and 61 Eurobroker employees of BGC who were lost in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Keira Knightley said it's "terrifying" that minor sexual assaults have become normal.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star (32) recalls four separate incidents in which she was groped in bars or in public and said the behaviour isn't exclusive to the entertainment industry.

"I’m fortunate that I’ve never been sexually abused professionally or harassed on a film set, but in my personal life, when I’ve been in bars, I can count four times when I’ve been what I’d say was assaulted in a minor way," she told Variety magazine.

"I think everyone has battled their fair share of monsters. It’s not just actresses. It’s teachers; it’s lawyers. I’m not talking about rape, but I’m talking about the people who had been grabbed in pubs or their breasts had been fondled by somebody they didn’t know or they’d had someone shove a hand up their skirt.

Keira Knightley attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Theatre Royal on December 3, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Keira Knightley attends the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Theatre Royal on December 3, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

"For too long, you really did go, ‘Oh, this is just normal.’ It’s terrifying that was our response," she added.

"It must have been awful for all of those brave women who have come forward and spoken publicly about their experiences. There’s been a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. We’re in a period of time in which it all has to come out. Then we need to move forward and figure out how to make sure that it doesn’t happen again."

Knightley praised the #MeToo movement, acknowledging that "men the industry were allowed to behave in very different ways than women", but noted that it wasn't restricted to her workplace.

"What was fascinating about the #MeToo movement was I was sitting with friends who weren’t in the industry, and there wasn’t one of us who hadn’t been assaulted at some point. We’d never had that conversation before. That was an eye-opener," she explained.

Actress Keira Knightley (L) and composer James Righton attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Actress Keira Knightley (L) and composer James Righton attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The mother-of-one went on to proclaim her excitement at more female-led programming with female directors and producers changing the way that women are portrayed on screen, giving insight into how she chooses her roles.

"I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped," she explained. "I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces."

Online Editors

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section