“This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” she told the crowd, according to People magazine. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly, and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier.”
“[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” she continued.
“I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal. For the young women in this room, life is going to be different, because we’re with you, we have your back, and it makes me feel better. It makes me so sad to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to,” she said.
Witherspoon’s 18-year-old daughter was in the audience.