“I’ve experienced stuff on the small side, but assault is assault,” she explains the new cover story for Haute Living Los Angeles.
“I think there are a lot of people who have been intoxicated and taken advantage of. It’s happened to me and people I know. It’s very common,” she says. “Luckily, I’ve been unscathed; nothing’s hurt me too badly.”
In January, the actress, 28, referenced sexual assault in now-deleted posts on both her Twitter and Instagram pages, saying “I never understood sexual assault until tonight. I always sympathized, but I never felt the pain of it until right now. My dignity and pride was broken. I am completely at a loss of words.”
She also went on to tell Haute Living Los Angeles that while she’s “had super-dark times” living in the city, “it’s been a place that’s always had my back.”
“I know it sounds weird, but I’ve always been at ease here. For me, this is it. I think I’ll always live here. I feel like I can be myself here,” she continues.
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Speaking to PEOPLE in January at an event in West Hollywood, the Pretty Little Liars star said the wave of women speaking out about sexual misconduct had been “awesome.”
“I feel grateful to have people that I look up to that are speaking up about things,” said Hale. “Not just women — I think men have sometimes suffered the same way that women have. And as long as a conversation is going or a conversation has started, which it has, that’s the best thing you could ever ask for because that makes people feel not alone. I think if powerful people can make a difference by speaking up, which they are, that will trickle down hopefully.”
“My whole thing is I never want to be someone who makes it all shiny and rainbows all the time, because it’s not,” she added. “No one ever feels like that 24/7.”
While she is hoping to give her fans the confidence to speak up for themselves, Hale sais she is equally as thankful for their support.
“They’re the most amazing through anything,” she explained. “There can be times when I feel like no one in the world gets something, and I can read something through one of the people who supports me and I’m like ‘Holy s—. I am not alone in any of this.’ They’ve stuck by me through the good and the bad. I’m so grateful.”