Like many women who have felt emboldened to do so in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, Helen Mirren is sharing her own story. The iconic actress reflected on the recent shift in Hollywood and other industries that has opened the door for women to speak out against abuse, finally to real consequences, in an interview with Sunday Today. “This moment in time, this last four or five months, has been an enormous shift. It’s been coming… and I say Time’s Up — it’s about time’s up,” Mirren says. “It’s taken a long time to get here.”
When asked if she has found her own experiences in Hollywood represented in the #MeToo movement though, Mirren replied, “No, I have to say I never experienced it in Hollywood.” Mirren suggested a reason why she hasn’t, saying it’s “Because I came to Hollywood in my 30s.” “I was too old,” she explained, “It doesn’t happen to you unless you’re really young and that’s a whole reality that is nature that should be unpicked — or maybe it’s not nature; it’s cultural as well.”
While sexual assault and sexual misconduct can happen at any age, Mirren is correct that the majority of documented instances occur under the age of 30. According to the anti-sexual assault organization RAINN, 54 percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 34, while 28 percent fall in between 35 and 64 and 3 percent happen after the age of 65. As the #MeToo movement has proved, though, age or success or power have little impact on who sexual abusers target.
Mirren did recall her own experience with sexual misconduct, saying, “When I was between 16 and 23, 24, men would expose themselves to me often. I would say about once a week. On the subway, on the Tube, on the bus, or walking down a road. Weird, because it’s not like you’re going to go, ‘Oh my god, that’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen’. It’s the opposite. It’s horror.”
Mirren, who recently relearned her age on Ellen (she is currently 72), has undergone somewhat of a feminist awakening in her later years, as she talked about last summer during a keynote address at Tulane University. “I loved people like Germaine Greer, and I loved what they were saying, but I was the kind of feminist that wanted to wear high heels and lipstick, and that wasn’t on in the late 60s,” she said, as Vanity Fair reported. “You couldn’t be a feminist and do that kind of thing. Well, you can nowadays, so I’m a modern feminist.”