Georgetown star Helen Mirren has bravely opened up about her experiences with sexual harassment. The 75-year-old has told that she experienced it on almost a daily basis while growing up.
That would happen once a month to me – sometimes more
Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Helen has revealed that in her 20s, she preferred to stay in hotel rooms reading rather than going out as she didn’t feel safe due to past experiences.
Now, the Oscar-winning star, who is just one of many celebrities backing the L’Oreal Paris Stand Up Against Street Harassment movement, has said that men tend to harass young women who are “vulnerable”.
Following the global #MeToo movement, London born Helen claims that almost every woman she knows has experienced sexual harassment.
Aged just 13, Helen was “flashed” while she sat on a train, with the flasher being the only other person in the empty carriage.
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“It was horrible and they do it because young girls are vulnerable, it’s a power trip,” she said.
However, this was not a one-off incident, with Dame Helen saying that it would happen “almost on a daily basis”.
In a shocking revelation, she went on to add: “Whether it was pick-up lines, being followed, being objectified, men exposing themselves it could be extreme.
“That would happen once a month to me – sometimes more.”
The Prime Suspect star says that every woman she knows has experienced some form of harassment, adding: “That means there’s an enormous number of men out there doing it – and I was always amazed that no one was really talking about it.”
Helen notes that as she got older, she became “angrier” as the harassment she endured didn’t stop, adding that she became repressed.
She continued: “As I got older, I got angrier because it didn’t stop and I still am p***ed off that my ability to be out in the world was repressed.
“In my 20s there were times when I would sit in my hotel room reading a book rather than go out and enjoy myself to avoid it.”
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Following the #MeToo movement, Dame Helen says some people have not “historically ever really understood” what women experience on a regular basis.
The actress, who boasts several awards for her performance as the Queen in the international hit 2006 film said: “It’s about educating the people around the person who is being harassed that it’s our collective responsibility to take action, the more people look away, the more people think they can continue doing it.”
Taking to her Instagram account in March 2021, in view of her 915,000 followers, Helen announced that she would be participating in L’Oreal Paris’ Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign.
Penning alongside a video about the campaign, Helen said: “Today as part of international women’s day I stand up with Loreal Paris to fight street harassment.”
L’Oreal, alongside Hollaback, are working together to raise awareness of street harassment in order to “empower” people to intervene “safely” should they witness street harassment.
Previously, the veteran actress has spoken of how she often felt like a “piece of meat that had no value” while she was attempting to make a name for herself as a budding actress during the early days of her career.
Following the #MeToo movement, Helen told Vogue: “I just thought it was what men did, what men were like – I never questioned whether I should stand up to men who behaved like that to me.
“I felt like a piece of meat that had no value, it happened here, it happened there, then you’d go on a date with a guy and it happened again.”
She added: “And I started blaming myself, maybe it’s me? Maybe I am putting something out there that I am not aware of? Maybe it is my fault?”
The actress previously revealed that on a weekly basis while travelling on New York’s subway or London’s bustling underground, she would encounter men exposing themselves when she was between the ages of 16 and 23.
Over the course of the past decade, Helen believes that things have “substantially” changed for women in the film and television business.
Recalling her time in the hugely successful Prime Suspect, Helen believes that television bosses were “not at all sure” that a female-led drama would perform well with the viewing public.
Express.co.uk has contacted Helen’s reps for further comment.
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