Mena Suvari has heartbreakingly revealed she was sexually abused as a young child.
The American Beauty actress opened up about the ordeal in her new memoir, The Great Peace, in which she relived the abuse she said began in the sixth grade shortly after her family moved to Charleston, South Carolina.
“Between the ages of 12 and 20 I was the victim of repeated sexual abuse,” she wrote in her memoir, per an excerpt published in People magazine.
The actress said she was raped at her alleged abuser’s family home just before she turned 13, despite telling him, “No, I don’t want to do that.”
“Part of me died that day. He used me, had fun with me, and then disposed of me,” 42-year-old Suvari writes. “He called me a w—e. I never got to have a healthy expression of [sex]. My choice was lost. And that, compiled with already not feeling seen and heard, established a concept that I would have of myself. That that was my value.”
Suvari, now 42, said she blamed herself because she “allowed it to happen” and this led her down a dark path, during which she frequented raves and nightclubs before using hard drugs to numb the pain.
“I turned to any form of self-medicating I could find, just to get by,” she writes. “I was just trying to survive.”
At age 17, Suvari then met a man who she said sexually abused her.
“I remember thinking maybe this is how relationships are: the screaming, the name-calling, the abuse. I felt like I had brought it all on in some way,” she writes.
It was acting that eventually saved her life, Suvari said. And with the added support of friends and therapy, she was able to go on to have healthy relationships.
After brief marriages to cinematographer Robert Brinkmann and record producer Simone Sestito, she married Michael Hope in 2018 two years after meeting on the set of the TV movie, I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
The couple welcomed their first baby together in April, a son named Christopher Alexander Hope.
“It was the first time I felt I wanted to have a family with someone. I found out I was pregnant when I finished writing the memoir,” she told People.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website. In an emergency, call 000.
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