What Lili Reinhart Learned After Speaking Out About Her Sexual Assault

Lili Reinhart recalls how a man tried to force himself on her when she was 16 and discusses her decision to speak out during an interview with Allure

By Elyse Dupre 11 Feb, 2020 5:38 PMTags

It's been two years since Lili Reinhart first told her followers an adult work associate tried to force himself on her when she was 16.

In a new interview with Allure, the 23-year-old actress looked back at the assault and her decision to speak publicly about it.

The Riverdale star came forward in a Tumblr post back in 2017. In the message, she recalled how a "man in a position of power over me used that said power to try and take advantage of me."

 "I felt physically pinned down to the ground while someone dry humped me, basically," she told the magazine.

She also wrote about how she confronted the man about it and how he proceeded to tell her it was her "fault for leading him on," calling her a "tease" and the "most manipulative woman he'd ever met." 

"His ego was bruised to say the least, because I refused to engage with him sexually that night," she wrote at the time. "He refused to talk to me. I remember begging him to come outside his trailer so we could talk. I needed clarity on the situation. I felt like I had genuinely done something wrong– that maybe I really was being a tease to him and led him to believe that I wanted to be with him sexually. I was miserable. And I felt that I needed to keep my mouth shut about the entire situation because 1. I figured no one would believe me and 2. he played a much bigger role in this project than me...he had more power. If I said something, maybe the production would be halted… people would be put out of work. I would be looked at as dramatic and a diva, no one would want to work with me again."

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During the interview, Reinhart reflected on how she's spoken publicly about the incident before.

"I think I shared my story…before I had really understood it," she said. "I kept thinking of it as something physical, but it was more so a psychological abuse...that spanned a couple of months. I went along with it and was trying to get his approval because we were working together…. I wanted my work environment to be easy."

She also discussed how speaking out can help others. 

"What makes me hopeful is people like [Supergirl and Glee actor] Melissa Benoist sharing her story of domestic abuse with the world, because I think she helped a lot of people by doing that," she said. "When people come forward about a sexual abuse experience or physical abuse or them struggling with a disorder, they're encouraging other people to not suffer in silence."

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To read Reinhart's full interview, check out the March 2020 issue of Allure.