This Actress Revealed What It's Like to Be an Expectant Mom as a Sexual Assault Survivor

October 26th 2016

Laura Donovan

Actress Amber Tamblyn's pregnancy announcement isn't the usual tabloid fare.

In an essay published in Glamour on Wednesday, the mom-to-be laid out the anxieties of bringing a new daughter into a world that isn't always kind to women.

She opened by recapping how she recently went viral for sharing her sexual assault experience in response to the notorious "Trump Tapes," in which the Republican presidential candidate bragged about groping women. The actress revealed that she called her mother to talk about her experience, only to learn that her mom had previously been sexually assaulted as well, and that her grandmother dismissed the incident as boys being boys.

Tamblyn then described what it's like to think about becoming a mother to a daughter as someone who has experienced sexual assault:

"I'm pregnant, with a daughter on the way. I think constantly about the world I am bringing her into. Will I get a phone call from my daughter someday, one she never wanted to make? Will I have to share with her my story, and the story of her great-grandmother’s words to her grandmother? Is it possible to protect her from inheriting this pain? How much do I have to do, as a daughter and a soon-to-be mother, to change not just the conversation about how women are seen, but the language with which conversations are spoken in?"


Other women have written about parenting as sexual assault survivors.

Earlier this year, writer Margaret E. Jacobsen wrote in a piece for Romper that experiencing rape at age 18 made her fearful about having a daughter later on in life:

"Learning that my first child was a girl filled me equally with joy and fear. What could I impart on her to better prepare her for whatever might come her way? What would I do if what I went through happened to her? Sitting down and thinking about the fact that someday, someone could harm my child in a sexually abusive way was infuriating. It left me with a sense of helplessness, but I knew immediately that I wanted to do everything I could to combat that feeling."

Jacobsen, who also has a son, said that her experiences have prompted her to teach the children about consent:

"Both of kids are still young — 6 and 7, respectively — so we don’t actually talk about what rape is, but we talk about why we don't touch others without asking, and without a clear 'yes.' We talk a lot about how 'no' actually means 'no.' Sometimes I hover as they play with other children, because I'm trying to make sure they’re asking the right questions when it comes to hugging, or even sharing a toy."

Read Tamblyn's full piece here.