Inspired by the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assault, Busy Philipps shared for the very first time that she was raped in high school. And less than three weeks later, the actress is explaining what happened in excruciating detail.
In her new memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, the mother of two describes over several chapters being alone in eighth grade with a boy three years her senior, struggling to understand what happened and accepting how it’s affected her.
Philipps, now 39, recalls that she tried to “be seductive. I reached over and clumsily started to unbuckle his belt. I have no idea why I didn’t kiss him but instead just went for his belt. It was so weird. But then again, I was fourteen and painfully inexperienced. I had no idea what qualified as normal behavior.”
She then says that she reached for his penis and they kissed until he encouraged her to get in the back of his SUV so they could be more “comfortable.”
“I climbed in, not sure of what to do or how to end it,” the Busy Tonight host continues. “I wanted to go back to [my friends] now, but I couldn’t figure out how to say that without confirming all of my worst fears about myself. I was unlovable. I was not attractive. I was a f—ing baby.”
Philipps says that he climbed on top of her and “weighed so much and was pushing me down so hard,” allowing him to “push” his penis “inside … I didn’t know what to do. I put my hands under his shirt, digging my nails into his back. I hated it. I didn’t want this … It was so, so painful.”
In protest, the Dawson’s Creek alum recalls, she was only able to “get out” a simple “I don’t think this is gonna work … He didn’t say anything about it not working. He just kept doing it. I found a spot on the ceiling of his car and I sort of spun up to it and just focused on that until he shuddered and rolled off me.”
She then explains that she struggled to know how to describe the incident because of her own role in it. “I unbuckled his belt,” she writes. “It has f—ed me in the head again and again, almost always in new ways. Showing up when I least expect it. … My only hope is that my girls grow up in a culture that truly understands consent and that they’re never left to question if violence means someone cares for them.”
Philipps reveals in a chilling concluding passage that after a meeting with her therapist last year, she decided to search for her assailant on social media for the first time.
“I found him, smiling with his wife and their two little boys. I clicked to her page. He’s the love of her life. ‘Dreams do come true!’ she wrote under their wedding photo. ‘I finally got my happy ending!’ “
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Philips first told fans that she’d been assaulted in an Instagram post at the end of September.
Alongside a school photo of herself, she wrote: “This is me at 14. The age I was raped. It’s taken me 25 years to say those words. I wrote about it in my book. I finally told my parents and sister about it 4 months ago. Today is the day we are silent no more,” she said. “All of us. I’m scared to post this. I can’t imagine what Dr. Ford is feeling right now.”
A few days later, the former Cougar Town star cried telling her story to Ellen DeGeneres, who also discussed her own experience with sexual abuse during the interview.
“I was so moved by [Dr. Ford’s] bravery,” Philipps began. “It wasn’t something that I felt like I was ever going to blast out on social media. But when I saw her standing there, speaking her truth after 30 years, I was like, ‘It’s been 25 for me. I can do this. We can all do this.’ I feel like it’s a real moment of reckoning for women, that we have sort of collectively carried this burden for so long. And it’s time to share it.”
“It was hard. And really scary. … I have a 10-year-old,” she continued, choking up. “So when I look at that baby, I see my kid. It’s sadly the most unoriginal horror. I’ve struggled with it for so long… We can do better for our kids and the next generation, and we will,” she said.
This Will Only Hurt a Little is out now, and Phillips’ late-night talk show Busy Tonight premieres Oct. 28 on E!