Ashley Judd has said that she met the man who raped her in 1999 and had a “restorative-justice conversation” with him.
Judd was speaking on the Healing With David Kessler podcast about the recovery process after the sexual assault, saying: “It was crazy-making because I knew better. I was very clear, my boundaries were intact. I was already an empowered, adult feminist woman. And that this could happen under these circumstances was unconscionable [and] unforeseen.”
She added: “I tried to find him and he surfaced very easily, and to make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together. 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.
“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.”
At the Women in the World Summit in 2019, Judd described herself as “a three-time rape survivor”, and said that one of the rapes had resulted in conception. She added: “I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion because that rapist, who’s 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.”
Judd was one of the first people to speak out against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, saying he had attempted to make her watch him shower. She subsequently sued him for sexual harassment and defamation. Weinstein denies he defamed Judd. Kessler asked her what advice her mother, the late singer Naomi Judd, had given her when she was contemplating talking publicly about Weinstein.
Judd replied, “She said: ‘Go get him.'”
Judd also discussed her upbringing with her mother, who killed herself in May. “I look back on my childhood and realize I grew up with a mother with an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness… I understand that she was in pain and doing the best she could.”
In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support for rape and sexual abuse on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, or 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland. In the US, Rainn offers support at 800-656-4673. In Australia, support is available at 1800 Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html