Nancy B. Varghese
In a harrowing series of accusations that followed in the wake of the sexual allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick is the latest male celebrity who has been dragged into the spotlight of sexual assault.
In an emotional Facebook post, actress Kristina Cohen accused Westwick of raping her, three years ago. The incident occurred when the actress, along with a producer she was briefly dating back then, first met Westwick at his house. She said she was taking a nap when she was “woken abruptly by Ed on top of me, his fingers entering my body. I told him to stop, but he was strong. I fought him off as hard as I could but he grabbed my face in his hands, shaking me, telling me he wanted to f*** me. I was paralyzed, terrified. I couldn’t speak, I could no longer move. He held me down and raped me.”
Cohen stated that she had gone ‘back and forth’ repeatedly, unsure if she should be speaking up on the incident, and even if she does, whether her claims will be heard.
On Tuesday, Westwick took to Instagram and posted a statement in response to the accusation, stating that neither does he know who Cohen is, nor has he committed rape:
Like so many women in multiple scenarios of sexual assault, Cohen was also blamed by her then film producer boyfriend and told she was an active participant in the rape. He asked her not to say anything “because Ed will have people come after me, destroy me, and that I could forget about an acting career. Saying there’s no way I can go around saying Ed “raped” me and that I don’t want to be “that girl.”
There are no words to describe the shocking state of sexual violence against women that are now coming to light. It’s incredibly brave of all these strong women to step forward with, and often relive, the painful incidents that years of repressed trauma have affected their lives, especially when they need to stand up to the rich and the powerful, who are worshipped and fawned over by millions of people around the world.
Cohen filed a report of sexual assault with the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday, and investigations for the claim are currently underway.
The powerful last words of Cohen’s Facebook post ring loud and true for all women everywhere in the world, that are dealing with their own stories of pain and suffering:
“I hope my coming forward will help others to know that they are not alone, that they are not to blame, and it is not their fault. Just as the other women and men coming forward have helped me to realize the same. I hope that my stories and the stories of others help to reset and realign the toxic environments and power imbalances that have created these monsters.”
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