It happened in my sleep; Kerry Washington recounts sexual assault

Scandal star, Kerry Washington, has been reflecting on the profound impact of her experience with sexual assault.

Kerry Washington played Jasmine.

At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held at the University of Southern California on April 20, the 47-year-old actress opened up about this pivotal moment in her life, discussing it in connection with her September 2023 memoir, Thicker Than Water.

When asked about the lasting effects of the abuse, Washington shared with interviewer Erika D. Smith that it was one of the earliest instances in which someone denied her truth, causing her to question her intuition.

Thicker Than Water delves into Washington's journey of self-discovery, particularly focusing on her revelation in spring 2018, at the age of 41, that her biological father wasn't the man she had known as her dad, Earl Washington.


During the event, Washington explained her decision to include her experience of sexual assault in the book, emphasizing how the suppression of truth hindered her understanding of herself. She expressed her desire to tell her story from the perspective of uncovering her true identity amidst the obstacles that obscured it.

Regarding the assaults, Washington did not disclose the identity of her alleged abuser but revealed that they occurred during childhood sleepovers in the Bronx. She recounted confronting the perpetrator, only to be met with denial and gaslighting, which instilled a sense of self-doubt that she battled throughout her life.

Washington clarified in her book that her abuser was not a paedophile but rather a child himself, which has led her to keep these incidents private out of compassion. Despite the trauma, she has wrestled with reclaiming her truth and combating the internalized messaging that has often undermined her confidence in her perceptions and experiences.

In her own words, Kerry Washington stated, "The version of the story that I want to tell is the version of figuring out the truth of who I am and what were the obstacles that got in the way of me being able to know my truth and experience my truth."


She continued, "And one of those things was that I had survived this sexual assault that was happening at night," and added, "And why it was relevant to the story is because of the ways that I was gaslit that I didn't know that something, I didn't know what was happening at night, but I knew that something was happening."

She further elaborated on the aftermath of the assaults, stating, "When I approached the person who was doing it, he told me that it was in my imagination and that I didn't know what I was talking about and that I was crazy," and reflected, "And that became a framework that I found myself fighting against a lot of my life, that if I had an instinctive thought about something, an intuitive idea about something, there was another thread of messaging in my brain that said, 'You're crazy. You don't know what you're talking about. That's not really true.'"

Concluding her thoughts, Kerry Washington added, "He was not a paedophile The truth remains that there were things done to me — while I was sleeping, and without my consent — but the perpetrator was a child himself. It is partly my compassion for him that has kept these incidents a secret, locked in the vault of my mind."


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