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Joy Bryant opens up about sexual abuse

Actress Joy Bryant has come forward with her own experiences with sexual assault and harassment, revealing she is the product of her mother’s alleged inappropriate relationship with an older man.
The former Parenthood star has penned an essay in Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter blog, addressing the sexual harassment scandal involving many Hollywood figures including movie moguls Harvey Weinstein and Brett Ratner, and she reveals she has also been a victim of abuse and harassment.
“I thought about my own experiences of abuse, assault, and harassment, pre-fame and post-fame,” she writes. “The male babysitter when I was five, the male photographer in my early twenties, the male studio executive a few years ago…”
Joy then explains that her relationship with her mother was forever strained because her mum fell pregnant with her as a teenager after she was allegedly taken advantage of by an older man.
“On October 18, 1974, Joyce gave birth to me, not in love but in shame, after hiding her pregnancy from my grandmother for six months,” she continues. “I am the product of a fifteen-year-old girl and an older man she knew… And with both my mother and my father dead, I’ll never know the specifics.
“What matters is that no one protected her before or after. What matters is that my mother was the one who was shamed. What matters is that my father ruined her life just as it was blossoming. What matters is she was trapped in a trauma she could never escape, a trauma that prevented her from being the mother I needed her to be. What matters is that she didn’t matter. And because she didn’t matter, I didn’t matter to her.”
The 43-year-old explains the difficult relationship she had with her mother led her to feel like a victim, because she didn’t realise what her mum was going through.
Joy now credits therapy for helping her understand what her mother’s trauma did to her and how it has affected her.
“On my birthday this year, I accepted my mother’s story as a part of my own,” she adds. “It always was and always will be.”

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