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Ashley Judd reveals she tracked her rapist down for ‘restorative justice conversation’

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Ashley Judd has explained why she tracked down one of the men who sexually assaulted her in a new podcast interview.

Judd, 54, has previously opened up about being subjected to sexual violence from a young age – including being raped at the age of 14 – in her 2011 memoir All That Is Bitter & Sweet.

She also said she was a “three-time rape survivor” and spoke about how one of the assaults led to a pregnancy in 2019, while she was advocating for US women’s right to abortion.

Speaking to author and grief expert David Kessler during Tuesday’s (26 July) episode of his podcast Healing with David Kessler, Judd has now revealed she had a “restorative justice conversation” with one of the men who raped her.

“When a man raped me in 1999, it was crazy-making because I knew better, I was very clear, my boundaries were intact, I was already an empowered, adult feminist woman,” she told Kessler, adding. “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.”

She told Kessler that she “tried to find him” but only after“I had the opportunity to do my trauma work, grief work, healing work, to have all these shifts in my own consciousness and to bond in these female coalition spaces with other survivors”.

“I tried to find him, he surfaced really easily and to make a long story short, we ended up in rocking chairs sitting by a creek together,” Judd explained to Kessler, adding, “And I said, ‘I’m very interested in hearing the story you’ve carried all these years.’ And we had a restorative justice conversation about that.”

The late Naomi Judd with daughter Ashley (Getty Images)
The late Naomi Judd with daughter Ashley (Getty Images)

She reminded listeners “that I didn’t need anything from him”, describing the fact that “he made his amends and expressed his deep remorse” as “gravy”.

Judd was one of the first one of the first women who came forward against disgraced Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, in an interview with The New York Times.

That piece, coupled with another by the New Yorker, revealed many allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein and brought mainstream attention to the #MeToo movement.

During the episode, Judd also acknowledged that her mother Naomi Judd’s mental illness was a disease and understood that “she was absolutely doing the best she could” at the time of her passing.

The country music star died by suicide on 30 April, aged 76. Ashley announced her mother’s death in a statement on Instagram that day, saying that she and her sister Wynonna had been left “shattered” by the news.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.

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