Viola Davis Shares History With Sexual Assault At Rape Foundation Fundraiser

Viola Davis is taking a stand against sexual assault. Over the weekend, the Emmy award-winning actress explained the importance of helping sexual assault victims at The Rape Foundation’s annual fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif., AP reports.

READ Viola Davis Discusses Hit Show And Her Daughter’s Love For Beyonce On ‘Ellen’

A victim of sexual assault herself, the How To Get Away With Murder star urged attendees to support the foundation’s mission to help improve and heal the lives of sexual violence and abuse victims. “You must,” Davis said. “And then let your heart do the rest. Myself, my mother, my sisters, my friend Rebecca, my friend from childhood, we all have one thing in common: We are all survivors of sexual assault in some way, shape or form.” Proceeds from the benefit help fund the foundation’s Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House for up to a year.

One of Davis’ sisters has been her motivation for rape advocacy. Since being raped at the age of 8, Davis said her sister turned to substance abuse and prostitution as an adult. The actress opened up about the incident during the foundation’s benefit last year. “I have a sister, who, when she was eight years old, put on some roller skates with her friend, went down to the corner store at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, went into the store, and was sexually assaulted in the store,” Davis said, reports The Daily Mail. “She came home, and she told my mom. My mom ran down to the store, started screaming at the store owners, and they said, ”Leave that man alone. He does that to all the little girls.” And then my mom proceeded to flag down a police officer. They found the man. They put him in the car. I saw my little sister crying. My mom was crying, too. And that was it.”

“From there, a precocious, very intelligent, very creative child grew up to be frail, angry, a drug addict by the time she was 20. Six children, all of which have been taken by social services. A prostitute. An IV drug user. You know, memories demand attention, because memories have teeth. And in my vision, and in my dreams, when I pray for my sister… you pray in general terms.”

Since starring in the 2010 film Trust about the foundation, Davis has spoken about the program’s educational classes for first responders, forensic services and counseling for sexual assault victims and sexually abused children.

Other attendees of the benefit included Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and The People Vs. OJ Simpson’s  David Schwimmer. Like Davis, the actor is a longtime member of the foundation dating back over a decade.

Learn more about The Rape Foundation here.

READ ‘Suicide Squad’ Looking To Rack Up $140 Million For Its Opening Weekend