Trigger warning: This post contains details about domestic violence and self-harm that may be disturbing to some readers.
On Monday morning, in a series of Instagram posts captioned #IAmNotOk, the actor Evan Rachel Wood got candid about a previous abusive relationship and its effects on her mental health. She began by reposting a sheet of instructions from the nascent movement I Am Not Ok, which aims to shed light on cases of domestic violence in the United States; a couple hours later, she posted a collage of images from her Frank Miller–directed Gucci Guilty campaign with Chris Evans.
“The day of this photo shoot, I was so weakened by an abusive relationship. I was emaciated, severely depressed, and could barely stand. I fell into a pool of tears and was sent home for the day,” she wrote. The casual elegance of the photos is incredibly deceiving, creating a harsh juxtaposition against what Wood describes as her mental state at the time of the shoot.
A few minutes after the first set of images, Wood posted another photo, a selfie in which you can see scars where Wood had cut herself. (Though she didn’t initially include a trigger warning at the beginning of the caption, she appropriately added it shortly after.) “2 years into my abusive relationship I resorted to self harm. When my abuser would threaten or attack me, I cut my wrist as a way to disarm him,” she wrote, her candor welcome on a subject that’s remained a real taboo even as mental health issues have been increasingly brought into the light. “It only made the abuse stop temporarily. At that point I was desperate to stop the relentless abuse and I was too terrified to leave.”
Peers like Minka Kelly and creative collaborators like designer Joseph Altuzarra expressed their support in likes and comments; throughout Monday, Wood retweeted other stories and messages of solidarity from the likes of Ally Hilfiger, who wrote, “#IAmNotOk with the current statute of limitations for domestic violence survivors,” (in New York, up to five years, depending on the specifics of the charges) and Linda Perry, who wrote, “I am not OK with the fact that 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the USA.” Actress Esme Bianco, who appeared as Ros on Game of Thrones early in the show’s run, also posted her own story, also captioned #IAmNotOk, to Instagram.
Evan Rachel Wood has been outspoken on behalf of domestic abuse survivors in the past. In addition to testifying before Congress on behalf of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, recounting an abusive relationship, struggles with self-harm, and two suicide attempts. “If you can’t hear the whole truth, you will never know true empathy,” she said at the time. (Patricia Arquette chimed in with her support on Twitter.) “I believe in the saying, ‘If we have to live through it, you should have to hear it.’”
The #MeToo movement also brought renewed attention to the work of one of Woods’ exes, Marilyn Manson, including from Arquette. The rocker once told Spin that his 2009 song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” was about his fantasies of “smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.” He also claimed that once on Christmas Day he called her, by his estimate, 158 times and cut himself on his face and hands. “I wanted to show her the pain she put me through. It was like, ‘I want you to physically see what you’ve done.’”