Teri Hatcher

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Ever since opening up in 2006 about the sexual abuse she faced as a child, Teri Hatcher has been an active participate in seeking to prevent violence against women.

Speaking at a United Nations event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Tuesday, the Desperate Housewives star recounted being molested by her uncle at the young age of 7. Hatcher recalled that because she was so young, she didn't fully understand the situation.

"I was convinced it was my fault and I blamed myself for what had happened, so I didn't tell anyone and I was silent," the 49-year-old actress said, according to Yahoo News. "I did, however, unsurprisingly, start to act out and my mother decided to keep me away from my uncle. I didn't see him anymore, but no one in my family ever asked exactly what happened. We remained silent."

But she didn't remain silent forever. Hatcher came forward in a 2006 Vanity Fair feature story and spoke about the abused she endured at the hands of Richard Hayes Stone, which stopped when she was 8. After learning that there were other victims, one of whom eventually committed suicide, she approached the district attorney. Hayes was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

"I have so much pain," she told the magazine. "I'm a woman who carries around all these layers of fear and vulnerability. I'm trying to be my powerful me; it's in there, but I have to find the strong part underneath the layers of 'I'm s--t. I'm never going to go anywhere!'"

The actress spoke candidly about her horrific experiences, recalling specific moments that she will never forget.

"My memories have been with me forever, right down to the details of the color of the carpet in the car, and his penis, and what he asked me to do with it," she said.

"I remember once we were going from his house to pick up some other people, and I remember trying to manipulate it so that we would be alone together," she said, adding, "I knew that he would pull over in some deserted parking lot and do things to me. I feel such shame, because it felt like I was special. I was being paid special attention to, told how fabulous I was; this was someone who was supposed to love me, but at the same time you know it's wrong."

But now a heavily involved activist, Hatcher helps in any way she can, including lighting the Empire State Building orange Monday night in honor of the commemorative day.

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