Actress AnnaLynne McCord recently spoke out once again about the harrowing, life-changing rape she endured as a teenager. The 90210 star came forward with her tragic, life-affirming story as part of International Women’s Day in an effort to help other rape supporters come to terms with what they’ve suffered and survived. According to McCord, it took a full decade for her to come to terms with her rape and stop blaming herself for what was done to her.
In an interview with the BBC, AnnaLynne McCord recalled her rape, telling her interviewer that her story played out differently than what she’s heard described by many other sexual assault survivors. As People reports, the now 29-year-old actress said that what happened to her wasn’t one of “these scenarios they tell you you’re going to get raped in.”
In fact, according to AnnaLynne McCord, the scene of her trauma was her very own home. She was just 18 years old at the time, and an aspiring Hollywood actress. She says she opened her home up to a friend who needed a place to sleep. What she says happened next is horrifying, and a reminder of the very real rape threat that women can face, no matter where they are.
“I was in my own home. Let a friend come stay at my place because [he] needed to crash. And I woke up to find my Southern hospitality, if you want to call it that, was being greatly taken advantage of. I woke up, and he was inside me — and my whole body shut down.”
The rape took place in Los Angeles, where AnnaLynne was attempting to launch her career as an actress. According to McCord, she was brought up in a strict, devout, and religious (Christian) home. In fact, her father was a pastor and, according to AnnaLynne, something of a disciplinarian.
Her upbringing spurned McCord to leave home at a young age to pursue her dreams, and according to AnnaLynn, she moved out at just 15 years old. The actress says she first traveled to New York, where she says that she went “a little crazy-wild, dancing on tables wearing little miniskirts.”
AnnaLynne McCord, who is sharing her own sexual assault survival story to help others who have lived through what she lived through, says that her upbringing and lifestyle combined to make her feel responsible for her own rape, a feeling that many women echo, but none should endure.
For 10 years, McCord struggled to come to terms with the fact that she was not at fault, but has made incredible progress in shedding the blame she’s carried. Her mantra is now “how I dress does not mean yes.”
AnnaLynne admits that she didn’t resist or fight against her friend-turned-rapist during the horrific sexual assault. She claims that that detail has also haunted her and caused her to believe that she may have been to blame (or at least somehow at fault) for the rape she endured. However, AnnaLynne McCord has recently come to a deeper understanding of her terrified response to being assaulted, and again released the self-blame that came with her previous way of thinking about her rape.
“For 10 years I thought it was my fault. I didn’t fight back. I found out recently through my studies of neuroscience that my body completely shut everything down and wouldn’t let me fight back because I thought that was the only way to cope with abuse.”
— Jay O. Spinner (@309_470) March 11, 2017
@IAMannalynnemcc: The BBC stated something about your ordeal. I'll just say, the world is a better place, due to your deciding to stay in it
— Zipocrite (@Zipocrite) March 11, 2017
@etnow oh my god i hope she is okay now
— Ari???? (@ArianaGrandyye) March 11, 2017
@IAMannalynnemcc I read about your BBC interview regarding what happened to you. I completely understand. Thank you for sharing…-Y
— Y CRUZ (@YCWWW) March 11, 2017
In the immediate aftermath of her rape, AnnaLynne admits that her mental heath suffered as she chose not to report the crime or even confide in anyone. According to McCord, she tried to pretend that the sexual assault had never happened, with disastrous personal results.
“I became very, very dark. Suicidal. Self-harming – cutting up my arms.”
AnnaLynne McCord first went public with her story in 2014, but not before she portrayed a rape victim during her stint as Naomi on 90210. AnnaLynne claims that she didn’t ponder on the connection between the show’s story-line and her own history at the time; rather, she agreed to the arc because she felt it was a “very important issue.”
After her sexual assault, AnnaLynne largely devoted her spare time to engaging in charity work, particularly charity work involving rape and sex trade survivors.
“I fight human trafficking, working with survivors of consistent rape every day — all day. We’re working to get them back to some sort of normalcy.”
Since opening up publicly about her rape, AnnaLynne McCord has also spent a good portion of her time sharing her story with students on college campuses across the country and screening her empowerment movie, I Choose.
[Featured Image by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images]