Rachel Fieldhouse


“Healing from grief is an inside job”: Why Ashley Judd found and met with her abuser

“Healing from grief is an inside job”: Why Ashley Judd found and met with her abuser

Content warning: This article includes mentions of sexual assault, rape and child sexual abuse (CSA).

Ashley Judd has opened up about the conversation she had with the man who raped her more than two decades ago.

The Double Jeopardy star spoke about confronting the man who assaulted her in 1999 during an appearance on the podcast Healing With David Kessler, telling host David Kessler that they had a “restorative-justice conversation”.

“To make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together,” Judd said. “And I said, ‘I’m very interested in hearing the story you’ve carried all these years’. And we had a restorative-justice conversation about that.

"I wanted to share that story because there are many ways of healing from grief, and it's important to remind listeners that I didn't need anything from him and it was just gravy that he made his amends and expressed his deep remorse because healing from grief is an inside job."

The 54-year-old added that she didn’t need closure from the man, whose identity is still unknown, or “his cooperation” or “for him to make amends” to continue healing, and that she was just “very interested in hearing” his side of the story.

"Because I had the opportunity to do my trauma work, to do my grief work, to do my healing work, to have all these shifts in my own consciousness and to bond in these female coalition spaces with other survivors," Judd said. 

Recalling the incident, Judd described it as “crazy-making” and “unconscionable”.

"I was very clear, my boundaries were intact. I was already an empowered, adult feminist woman," she recalled. 

"And that this could happen under these circumstances was unconscionable, unforeseen, and yet I have had a restorative-justice process with this person out of how replete my soul is today."

Judd has publicly spoken about being a three-time rape survivor in the past and shared her story for the first time in her 2011 memoir, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, and again in an op-ed she wrote for Mic.com’s ‘Pass the Mic’ series.

"I am a survivor of sexual assault, rape and incest," she wrote at the time. 

"The summer of 1984 was tough for me. I experienced two rapes by an adult and systematic molestation from another adult, who also had another man in the room watching … This January, I read three different things that freshly triggered an additional, very specific memory from age 15 – an attempted oral rape by yet another adult man."

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse and need support, contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website, or contact BlueKnot on 1300 657 380.

Image: Getty Images

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