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'Gossip Girl' actor Ed Westwick has been accused of rape

The recent months have seen a flood of allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and rape come into the public eye. After film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of a variety of offences by over 50 women, including well-known actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, more and more horrendous stories of abuse in the film industry have come to light.

The latest person to come forward about her experience comes from actress Kristina Cohen, who has accused actor Ed Westwick of raping her three years ago. The incident reportedly happened in the actor's apartment, as detailed in a post Cohen shared on Facebook this week. After keeping it quiet for the last few years, she believed that the outpouring of stories has led her to speak up about what happened.

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At the time her mother was suffering from cancer, and she didn't have "the support system or time to process and deal with the aftermath of the rape". So she put it aside to care for her mom, who died just three months later. She struggled with the unsurprisingly negative feelings that emerged, but has now chosen to speak up.

"I’ve grown considerably in the three years since my assault, so to revisit is painful. To dig in and relive this night in order to accurately share the events, feels like a continued violation," she wrote on Facebook, "My stomach is in knots, scared as hell to share this publicly, as even fully reconciling with myself has been a tough process."

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At the time she was dating a producer who was friends with Westwick, and staying for dinner at the actor's home. She claims that Westwick propositioned them both to have sex with him, at which point she felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave. Her now-ex insisted on staying for dinner, and Ed suggested that Kristina have a nap while things were smoothed over.

"So I went and laid down in the guest room where I eventually fell asleep, I was woken up abruptly by Ed on top of me, his fingers entering my body. I told him to stop, but he was strong.

"I fought him off as hard as I could but he grabbed my face in his hands, shaking me, telling me he wanted to fuck me. I was paralyzed, terrified. I couldn’t speak, I could no longer move. He held me down and raped me."

Afterwards she told her boyfriend, who apparently blamed her and told her she was an "active participant".

"The producer put the blame on me, telling me I was an active participant. Telling me that I can’t say anything because Ed will have people come after me, destroy me, and that I could forget about an acting career. Saying there’s no way I can go around saying Ed 'raped' me and that I don’t want to be 'that girl.'"

"For the longest time, I believed him. I didn’t want to be 'that girl'," Cohen wrote, "I now realize the ways in which these men in power prey on women, and how this tactic is used so frequently in our industry, and surely, in many others."

Over the years she found herself "sickened" to see Ed respected and receive honours such as becoming one of the Oxford Union Society's 'People who Shape our World'. "Men like Ed using fame and power to rape and intimidate but then continue through the world collecting accolades," she said, but hopes that things will change in the future.

"I hope my coming forward will help others to know that they are not alone, that they are not to blame, and it is not their fault. Just as the other women and men coming forward have helped me to realize the same. I hope that my stories and the stories of others help to reset and realign the toxic environments and power imbalances that have created these monsters."

Like Cohen wrote, hopefully more victims find the strength to come forward and bring down those that take advantage of their position to hurt others.

 

UPDATE:

Ed Westwick has released this statement: