Angela Bassett is such a powerhouse on-and-off the television and movies screens that it’s hard to imagine that she carries a burden of hurt from a traumatic childhood experience.
Bassett opened up at the Rape Foundation’s annual brunch, about her painful past, recalling the time that her mother’s boyfriend fondled her breasts as a child. While speaking to the group about her assault, the prolific actress even diminished the incident a bit, something survivors often do.
“Fortunately, it wasn’t a complete assault, it was fondling, but it was devastating enough for a child who’s 12 or 13,” Bassett told reporters on Sunday afternoon.
The “911” star said she is grateful her mother swooped in and handled it with the quickness, Variety reports.
“Thankfully, to have a mother who could tell as soon as light broke that this happened and for her to expel him,” Bassett said. “That she heard me, believed me, and did something about it, I think was so empowering for me as a young teen, as a young woman.”
Bassett shares 13-year-old twins, daughter, Bronwyn and son, Slater with husband and fellow actor, Courtney B. Vance. As a mama bear, Bassett says she has cautioned her cubs to always “be aware” of their boundaries since the age of two.
“I started that early because of experiences with friends and I know that they will be in situations one day,” Bassett continued. “When a girl says no, both to him and to her, she means no. Back up. She has to say come here, kiss me.”
“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act. And that means us. That’s why we’re all here today — to see, to hear, to learn and to never, never miss anything,” Bassett said.
“I wish there weren’t victims of such a heinous, life-altering crime. I wish we lived in a world where our children felt effortlessly protected, without any fear of someone violating or hurting them. But sadly, that is not our reality.”
The brunch was hosted at a private Beverly Hills estate and also included the harrowing stories of several sexual assault survivors. Supporters and survivors come together annually to help raise funds for the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House at UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center.