Actress Ashley Judd, a three-time rape survivor, met with man who raped her


Ashley Judd says she’s experienced depression and changes in sleep habits after the death of her mother, country singer Naomi Judd. Photo: AP

Actress Ashley Judd says she had a discussion with a man who raped her in order to have a “restorative-justice conversation”.

On an episode posted July 26 of the Healing With David Kessler podcast, which was reported on People magazine’s website, Judd talked about that experience, as well as the loss of her mother and how she and her family are dealing with their grief.

Judd told Kessler that she decided to “slowly approach” the man who in 1999 raped her, and how she was able to find him without much difficulty.

“To make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together,” she said. “And I said, ‘I’m very interested in hearing the story you’ve carried all these years.’ And we had a restorative-justice conversation about that.”

She added: “I just kind of wanted to share that story because there are many ways of healing from grief. And it’s important to remind listeners that I didn’t need anything from him and it was just gravy that he made his amends and expressed his deep remorse, because healing from grief is an inside job.”

Ashley Judd ‘a three-time rape survivor’

In 2019, while speaking at the Women in the World Summit in New York and discussing abortion rights, Judd said she is “a three-time rape survivor”. In one case, she said the rape led to a pregnancy.

“I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion. Because the rapist, who is a Kentuckian, as am I, and I reside in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky and Tennessee. I would’ve had to co-parent with a rapist,” she said.

“So having safe access to abortion was personally important to me and, as I said earlier, democracy starts with our skin. We’re not supposed to regulate what we choose to do with our insides,” Judd was quoted as saying.

Ashley Judd’s childhood healing

On Tuesday, Judd talked to Kessler about the loss of “a sense of trust” that she experienced, beginning when she was molested by a man when she was seven years old.

“’They said, well, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant,’” she said. “The loss of my voice was a grief.”

She said that through recovery, she has been able to “regain myself”.

“I can’t really go back and have a happy childhood, but I can create for myself a very happy today.”

She added later: “Weaving together the losses of my childhood with the pursuit of gender equity today has made meaning in my life.”

Ashley Judd fights for women’s rights

Judd has spoken frequently about her experiences and advocated for women’s rights around the globe.

Kessler asked her about a time when she was considering whether to come forward publicly with allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. She said she talked to her mum about it.

Her mother, Naomi's response: “She said, ‘Go get ‘em, honey,’” Judd recalled.

As she processes the grief associated with Naomi’s death, Judd said she’s experienced depression and changes in sleep habits.

She said she and her sister, Wynonna, have spent time together and supported each other in their grief.

“She’s in a pretty different place than I am right now,” Judd said. “We don’t have to be congruent in order to have compassion for each other.” – Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service

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