Jane Fonda dropped the bombshell by revealing she is a rape survivor and that she was abused as a child.
In an interview with fellow Brie Larson for The Edit, the 79-year-old Oscar-winning actress also said she had once lost a job because she refused her boss’s advances.
Jane Fonda added she thought being a young actress now was “terrifying” because of female sexualization.
She said she “felt diminished” growing up because the men in her life were “victims of a [patriarchal] belief system”.
Jane Fonda also said she had been “brought up with the disease to please”.
“To show you the extent to which a patriarchy takes a toll on females – I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault; that I didn’t do or say the right thing.
“I know young girls who’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. They think, <<It must have been because I said no the wrong way>>.
“One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that [rape and abuse is] not our fault. We were violated and it’s not right.”
Jane Fonda has been a long-time activist and advocate for women’s rights and supporter of the Rape Foundation and Rape Treatment Centre in Los Angeles.
The actress revealed at a benefit in 2014 that her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, was abused as a child aged eight. She eventually took her own life at 42, when Jane Fonda was 12.
Speaking to mark International Women’s Day, Jane Fonda said she was happy actresses were now fighting to close the gender pay gap in the entertainment industry, as it wasn’t considered an issue 40 years ago.
“I never thought about it – I’m talking about at the height of my career in the ’70s and ’80s – I never got paid a huge amount of money. I never thought I was worth it,” she said.
“For me, it was just the way things were. Guys earned more. I am so glad people are feeling righteous anger about it now.”
Jane Fonda has been Oscar-nominated seven times and she won the Academy Award for best actress twice – in 1971 for crime thriller Klute and in 1979 for war romance Coming Home.