Evan Rachel Wood told a reporter about being raped. Then posted the whole letter online.

Last week, Rolling Stone published a profile on "Westworld" actress Evan Rachel Wood. It was a pretty normal interview, except for one thing.

Wood, whose character on "Westworld" is raped multiple times, opened up in the interview about her own personal experience as a survivor of rape. Alex Morris, the author of the piece, included a quote from an email Wood sent him in which she explained why she told him her story, and why she wants to tell the world.

In her email to Morris, Wood wrote:


"Yes, I've been raped. By a significant other while we were together. And on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar ...  I don't believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer. Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism."

Photo by Frazier Harrison/Getty Images.

Morris' article was meant mainly to highlight Wood's work on "Westworld," so it's understandable that he chose to include only a small section of Wood's email about her rape.

But after the article came out, Wood decided that wasn't enough.

Wood published her "confession letter" in its entirety on Twitter.

"Well, since everything is out in the open now, figured I would share the confession letter I wrote to @RollingStone in its entirety," Wood tweeted, with a screengrab of the email and the hashtag #NotOK.

The letter speaks to many of the reasons why survivors of rape often don't come forward when they've been sexually assaulted, including a fear of being blamed, being accused of making it up, and being told it's not a big deal. Wood opened up about feeling suicidal, about feeling like it was her fault, and about feeling ashamed of herself for not fighting back more.

In one of the most powerful passages in the letter, she talks about the complicated feelings survivors wrestle with and what she wishes other people understood about those feelings:

"[Rape] should be talked about, because it's swept under the rug as nothing, and I will not accept this as 'normal.'
It's a serious problem.
I am still standing. I am alive. I am happy. I am strong. But I am still not okay.
I think it's important for people to know that, for survivors to own that, and that the pressure to just get over it already should be lifted.
It will remind people of the damage that has been done and how the trauma of a few minutes can turn into a lifetime of fighting for yourself.



In the wake of the dozen sexual assault allegations against President-elect Donald Trump, several other celebrities have also come forward with their own stories of sexual assault.

Minnie Driver was assaulted in Greece when she was a teenager.

Amber Tamblyn was assaulted by an ex-boyfriend in a bar.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy and Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

An estimated 63% of sexual assaults go unreported to the police according to the National Sexual Violence Research Center. Only 3 out of every 100 rapists will see jail time according to RAINN, using data from the Justice Department. This can no longer go unnoticed.

One way to change these statistics is for survivors to keep telling their stories until they're really heard. While their stories are difficult to hear and read, by speaking up, these women are giving a voice to the millions of people who have experienced sexual assault and felt like they couldn't seek help afterward.

It's imperative, now more than ever before, that we listen to and share stories like Wood's.

Of course, not every person who's been raped or sexually assaulted may be ready to open up about their experience, and that's OK too. What isn't OK is what Wood describes at the beginning of her letter — feeling like she had to stay silent because she didn't want to be accused of seeking attention or having her experience downplayed. She chose to come forward with her story to show other sexual assault survivors that they're not alone — in their experiences and in their feelings.

As Wood wrote in her letter, "the trauma of a few minutes can turn into a lifetime of fighting for yourself." As more people share their personal experiences, however, the fewer people will come out of traumatic experiences feeling ashamed and powerless. That makes a world of difference.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

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"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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