'How to Get Away with Murder' star Karla Souza breaks silence on her own #MeToo experience

As the #MeToo movement increasingly gains traction, more and more Hollywood stars are coming forward and sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault. The number of victims has gotten depressingly longer, with celebrities like Salma Hayek and Cara Delevingne sharing their stories, and now, Karla Souza has joined the list of brave people who have come forward. In an interview with CNN Español published on Tuesday, February 20, the How to Get Away with Murder star shared details of a horrific experience with a film director from over ten years ago, who she says not only repeatedly harassed her, but raped her as well.

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karla-souza-me-too-story-1zVIEW GALLERY Karla Souza revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a director Photo: Getty Images

Last November, at around the same time that Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie raised their voices against now-disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, Karla told Javier Poza that she felt a certain responsibility to join the movement, saying, “I feel like I also need to speak out.” During that interview, Karla confirmed for the first time that she had been a victim of sexual abuse at the beginning of her career. Now, she has bravely come forward and shared more details of her violent assault.

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“I was starting out in my career when I was presented to these producers,” the Mexican actress began. “The manipulative ‘Now you owe me [a favor]’ game starts. They start to drill that idea into your mind by saying that they’re going to vouch for you, even though you don’t have a name yet but they know that you’re good and that you’re going to prove it. Back then, I didn’t have the education to know what this person was doing. He’s very charismatic and he has a successful career and he’s good at his job,” she added, without revealing the director’s name.

karla-souza-me-too-story-2zVIEW GALLERY The Mexican actress alleged that a director raped her Photo: Getty Images

While on location for a film in her native Mexico, Karla said she and the director were placed in the same hotel while the cast and crew stayed somewhere else. She confessed, “I naïvely thought ‘Ah! I get to stay in the nice hotel. How kind of them.’” Karla revealed that the director would frequently show up at her room. She said, “Sometimes, at 2 am, this person felt he had the need to come knock on my door to tell me that we needed to talk… He’d come into the room and he wouldn’t leave. He’d always talk about acting and he’d try to make me feel special.” 

MORE: Salma Hayek recalls her experience with 'monster' Harvey Weinstein

“I felt like rejecting him wasn’t an option. It didn’t just happen once. On the nights that I wouldn’t open the door for him, he’d make me pay for it on set. He’d humiliate me in front of everyone else. That’s how he’d mentally control me,” Karla continued. “When I did open the door for him, he’d be so enchanting. He’d send messages like ‘I dreamt of you last night.’ He was very insistent. Even the cast would come up to me and say they were impressed that I was able to deal with that wolf, who they saw was looming over me.” 

karla-souza-me-too-story-4zVIEW GALLERY Karla is one of the latest actresses to join the #MeToo movement Photo: Getty Images

He pressured her so much that Karla felt she had no choice. “After a month of this complete abuse of power, I ended up giving in and letting him kiss me and touch me in ways that I did not want to be touched," she shared, while shedding tears. “He violently hurt me, and yes, he raped me. It’s so hard for me to say this out loud.” 

Ever since Karla shared her #MeToo story, she has received an outpouring support from her millions of followers on social media. “You are so strong, and I’m so glad you’ve broken your silence,” wrote one Instagram user. “Karla, it’s so saddening to hear that this also happened to you. I admire your bravery,” wrote another. “You have the support of millions of women who have also suffered sexual assault,” shared another. "Onward and upward." Karla's TV co-star Viola Davis also tweeted her support writing, "Love to @karlasouza7...for our courage, your heart and for standing in your WORTH!" By sharing her story, Karla hopes more women will break their silence and join this moment to help put a stop to abuse of power and sexual harassment and assault. 

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