Ashley Judd reveals she met with her rapist for a ‘restorative-justice conversation’

‘There are many ways of healing from grief’: Ashley Judd reveals she met with her rapist for a ‘restorative-justice conversation’ several years after the 1999 assault

  • The actress, 54, was sexually assaulted in 1999 and, several years later, ‘tried to find’ her attacker, who ‘surfaced very easily’ so they were able to meet
  •  Speaking on the Healing with David Kessler podcast, Ashley said: ‘We ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together’
  • ‘There are many ways of healing from grief, and it’s important to remind listeners that I didn’t need anything from him,’ she said 
  • The actress called her rape ‘crazy-making’ because she ‘knew better’ as an ’empowered feminist woman’ with ‘boundaries’ 
  • Speaking in 2019 Ashley explained that she is ‘a three-time rape survivor’ 
  • She recalled while advocating for abortion rights how one assault led to a pregnancy which she terminated

Ashley Judd has revealed she sat down with the man who raped her to have a ‘restorative-justice conversation.’ 

The actress, 54, was sexually assaulted in 1999 and, several years later, ‘tried to find’ her attacker, who ‘surfaced very easily’ so they were able to meet.

Speaking on the Healing with David Kessler podcast, Ashley said: ‘To make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together. And I said, ‘I’m very interested in hearing the story you’ve carried all these years.”

'Healing from grief': Ashley Judd has revealed she sat down with the man who raped her to have a 'restorative-justice conversation' (pictured in 2019 at the Women in the World summit)

‘Healing from grief’: Ashley Judd has revealed she sat down with the man who raped her to have a ‘restorative-justice conversation’ (pictured in 2019 at the Women in the World summit)

‘And we had a restorative-justice conversation about that. I wanted to share that story because there are many ways of healing from grief, and it’s important to remind listeners that I didn’t need anything from him,’ she said.

‘It was just gravy that he made his amends and expressed his deep remorse, because healing from grief is an inside job.’

Podcast host David explained people ‘may not realise’ that grief applies to the fallout of being assaulted. He added: ‘You lose innocence.’

Ashley agreed: ‘One loses safety. I lost a sense of trust.’ 

The A Time To Kill actress called her rape ‘crazy-making’ because she ‘knew better’ as an ’empowered feminist woman’ with ‘boundaries’.

Assault: The actress, 54, was sexually assaulted in 1999 and, several years later, 'tried to find' her attacker, who 'surfaced very easily' so they were able to meet (pictured in 1999)

Assault: The actress, 54, was sexually assaulted in 1999 and, several years later, ‘tried to find’ her attacker, who ‘surfaced very easily’ so they were able to meet (pictured in 1999)

She said: ‘I was very clear, my boundaries were intact. I was already an empowered, adult feminist woman.

‘And that this could happen under these circumstances was unconscionable, unforeseen, and yet I have had a restorative-justice process with this person out of how replete my soul is today.’

The actress was keen to stress she didn’t need the ‘cooperation’ of her rapist when he agreed to have the meeting, or for him to ‘make amends’ or ‘do anything differently in order for me to have a process that was independent from that previous asymmetry of power.’

She added: ‘Because I had the opportunity to do my trauma work, to do my grief work, to do my healing work, to have all these shifts in my own consciousness and to bond in these female coalition spaces with other survivors.’

Speaking in 2019 Ashley explained that she is ‘a three-time rape survivor,’ and recalled while advocating for abortion rights how one assault led to a pregnancy which she terminated.

Restorative: Speaking on the Healing with David Kessler podcast, Ashley said: 'To make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together. And I said, 'I'm very interested in hearing the story you've carried all these years.'' 'Healing from grief': Ashley Judd has revealed she sat down with the man who raped her to have a 'restorative-justice conversation' (pictured in 2019 at the Women in the World summit) (pictured in March, 2018)

Restorative: Speaking on the Healing with David Kessler podcast, Ashley said: ‘To make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together. And I said, ‘I’m very interested in hearing the story you’ve carried all these years’  (pictured in March, 2018)

Speaking at the Women in the World conference on a panel being moderated by Katie Couric about the current state of feminism, Ashley said that should she have made the decision to keep the baby, the father would have been granted custody rights by the state. 

‘What I like to talk about is my personal experience with abortion because as everyone knows – and I’m very open about it – I’m a three-time rape survivor,’ said Judd.

‘And one of the times I was raped there was conception, and I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion because that rapist, who is a Kentuckian, as am I, and resides in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky.

She the explained that she would have ultimately been forced to ‘co-parent with a rapist’ under the existing laws of those states.

Speaking out: Speaking in 2019 at the Women in the World summit  Ashley explained that she is 'a three-time rape survivor,' and recalled how one assault led to a pregnancy which she terminated (Judd speaks next to authors (L-R) Rebecca Traister, Brittney Cooper, Sarah McBride and moderator Katie Couric during the Feminism: A Battlefield Report session)

Speaking out: Speaking in 2019 at the Women in the World summit  Ashley explained that she is ‘a three-time rape survivor,’ and recalled how one assault led to a pregnancy which she terminated (Judd speaks next to authors (L-R) Rebecca Traister, Brittney Cooper, Sarah McBride and moderator Katie Couric during the Feminism: A Battlefield Report session)

‘So having safe access to abortion was personally important to me, and as I said earlier, you know, democracy starts with the skin,’ explained Judd.

‘We’re not supposed to regulate what we choose to do with our insides.’

It was unclear at the time whether the rape resulted in a conviction, which would have prevented the attacker from having custody or visitation rights in both Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Judd has become a force in the women’s rights movement over the past few years, with the actress having been the first to speak out against Harvey Weinstein years before other women went public with their own stories.

She first wrote a piece for Variety in 2015 that did not name Weinstein, then gave an overview of her experience to The New York Times before sitting down for a tell-all about the mogul’s alleged misconduct.

Healing: The actress was keen to stress she didn't need the 'cooperation' of her rapist when he agreed to have the meeting, or for him to 'make amends' (pictured in May 2022)

Healing: The actress was keen to stress she didn’t need the ‘cooperation’ of her rapist when he agreed to have the meeting, or for him to ‘make amends’ (pictured in May 2022) 

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