Tag Archives: Connie Francis

Famous Survivors of Rape: Part 4

23 Aug

This is the final post of a 4-part series that began last week. Click the link if you would like read about Ashley Judd, Billie Holiday, Connie Francis, Fiona Apple, and Fran Drescher, here if you would like to read about Joyce Meyer, Kelly McGillis, Mackenzie Phillips, Marilyn van Derbur Atler, and Mary J. Blige, or here if you would like to read about Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Pamela Anderson, Queen Latifah, and Rita Hayworth. I’ve also done posts on Gabrielle Union and Fantasia Barrino that may interest you!

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Here is the last set of 5 rape survivors you may (or may not!) already know about:

Sandra Dee (April 23, 1942 – February 20, 2005)

Sandra DeeThe American child actress of the ’50s was most famous for her starring role in the movie Gidget and her marriage to heartthrob singer and actor Bobby Darin (also once famously involved with Connie Francis). But Sandra grew up confused by the trappings of life as a performer (her modeling and acting career began at the tender age of 2), and later when her mother remarried to real estate developer Eugene Douvan after divorcing Sandra’s father, she was forced into sexual intercourse with her stepfather from the age of 5 until Douvan’s death when Sandra was 12. In an 1991 interview, several years after her career ended and she had married and had a son, Sandra recalled:

“Gene didn’t molest me only in the mornings, but during the day, the night, whenever he wanted to and there was an opportunity. “He’d say, ‘Let’s snuggle’, and I never fought back – I was too small. Too young. “

Teri Hatcher

Teri HatcherToday the 46-year-old actress is most recognizable as ‘Susan Mayer’ from the primetime hit series Desperate Housewives, but Teri first got her start as a showgirl, model, and star as Lois Lane to Superman’s Clark Kent in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Once upon a time she was also the most frequently Google-d woman on the Internet! In May 2006 Teri first revealed to Vanity Fair magazine that she had been a child victim of incest at the hands of her uncle-in-law, Richard Hays Stone. He would take her on car rides under the guise of going to pick up her cousins from school and molest her in seclusion, graduating to rape when she was 7. Teri wasn’t able to tell the rest of her family about her pain until she heard about a 14-year-old girl from Santa Clara County, California, who committed suicide and left a note implicating Teri’s uncle as the man who had molested her. In 2002 Teri helped prosecutors convict Richard Hays Stone of his crimes by telling her story in court, and she is a vocal advocate for sexual abuse victims today.

Tim Roth

Tim RothHe was born in Dulwich, London, England, but the 50-year-old English actor’s most notable roles are in the American films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Planet of the Apes, and his hit television show Lie To Me, for which Tim won a People’s Choice Award in 2011. Growing up, he was a victim of incest, as he said in an interview with The Daily Mail:

“It happened during my childhood up to my early teens and although I’m not going to say who it was, he’s long gone now – and I hasten to add it wasn’t my father or mother. Things happen to you in your life, but you don’t want to consider yourself to be a victim – you want to be a survivor and the first thing that helps you do that and helps you get through it is speaking and finding your voice. I’d been wanting to direct a film for years and told my agent to start looking for a script. The first one that came through the door was the one for The War Zone. If you are a survivor of abuse and you get the opportunity to tell a story about that subject, then you can really get in there and tell the truth. It was a fantastic chance for me to exorcise a lot of demons. I’m very proud of the film and proud of the fact that it’s even been used as a teaching tool.”

Tori Amos
Tori AmosShe was a piano-playing child prodigy from the age of 2, and after a highly successful career as an alternative rock singer, songwriter, and composer in the 1990s, 48-year-old Tori Amos is one of the top live acts of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine. She was nominated for 8 Grammy Awards and has sold over 12 million albums across the world. But just before her rock career began, Tori was raped by a fan who approached her on her way home after performing in a local bar, and kept the horror of what she had experienced deep inside her memory for years before she wrote the song Me and a Gun, which tells her story. Her song made such a great impact with fans that Tori reached out to do more, and created RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – the only nationwide-available toll-free hotline for rape and sexual abuse survivors in America. She is still a supporter of the organization to this day!

Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry When he dons a woman suit and totes a rifle as the wild matriarch character ‘Madea’ from his well-known plays and films, Tyler Perry is almost unrecognizable as a 41-year-old actor, director, playwright, screenwriter and producer who ranks as the 6th-highest paid actor in Hollywood by Forbes magazine. He’s friends with stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and Janet Jackson, and worked with stars such as Gabrielle Union, Idris Elba, and Whoopi Goldberg, to name a few. He’s been outspoken about once being homeless, his abusive father, and Tyler has also shared his story of rape with the world. The mother of one of his childhood friend’s would lock Tyler into a room with her in her house and refuse to let him free or give him the key to let himself out unless he would allow her to have sex with him. His movies may be obnoxious to some, entertaining to others, and downright offensive to many more, but say what you will about Tyler Perry – he’s pulled himself out of a history of horrors.

There are so many people in the world to draw hope from, survivors who have been brave and willing to share their stories and sympathize with you. Who inspires you most?

Famous Survivors of Rape: Part 1

15 Aug

Knowing that you’re not the only person in the world to live through sexual assault can be the greatest relief if you’re a victim. Being able to meet and talk to survivors who are willing to share their stories with you is an amazing privilege. It can also help to have recognizable faces to look up to, public figures who prove through achievement that there is life after rape.

I’ve written about two Hollywood stars in the past, Fantasia Barrino and Gabrielle Union. Here are 5 other famous rape survivors you may (or may not!) already know about:

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd  The 43-year-old actress (famous for her roles in American films like Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, Where the Heart is, and A Time to Kill, as well as being the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and younger half-sister of Wynonna Judd) revealed that she was raped many times as a child in her autobiography All That Is Bitter & Sweet. After her parents divorced when she was 7 and her mother moved the family to Kentucky, Ashley remembers that she was cornered by a old man who offered her a quarter to play the pinball machine, and instead pulled her into a dark and empty store. When she tried to tell trusted adults about what happened to her, however, no one believed her story.

Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959)

Billie Holiday One of the best African-American jazz singers in American history began life with a difficult childhood, raised by her half-sister and other caretakers in place of her traveling mother until she was 11, already a school drop-out. On December 24, 1926 while the young Holiday was alone, a neighbor named Wilbur Rich broke into her family home and raped Billie before he was caught by Billie’s mother. He was jailed for his crime, but Billie had to live as a temporary ward of the state in protective custody, and then in a brothel with her mother after the age of 12, before she was able to climb her way out to stardom. 


Connie Francis

Connie Francis The 72-year-old songstress is known for her pop hits “Where The Boys Are”, “Who’s Sorry Now”, “Stupid Cupid” and many more recorded in her youth. After a live performance in New York in the latter half of her career, Connie was raped upon returning to the Jericho Turnpike Howard Johnson’s Lodge where she had been staying. Her attacker was never found, but Connie sued the hotel for neglecting to provide accurate security for patrons, and won an astonishing $3 million judgment. She took 7 years off from her career, and resumed singing in 1989.

Fiona Apple

Fiona AppleShe’s 33 and won a Grammy Award for her ’90s hit single “Criminal” at the age of 21, as well as an MTV Video Music Award for the single “Sleep to Dream” coming off her critically-acclaimed debut album Tidal. Fiona was raped by a stranger on her way home from school when she was 12, and today says about being a role model:

That’s the only reason I ever brought the whole rape thing up. It’s a terrible thing, but it happens to so many people. I mean, 80 percent of the people I’ve told have said right back to me, “That happened to me too.” It’s so common, and so ridiculous that it’s a hard thing to talk about. It angers me so much because something like that happens to you and you carry it around for the rest of your life. No matter how much therapy you go through, no matter how much healing you go through, it’s part of you. I just feel that it’s such a tragedy that so many people have to bear the extra burden of having to keep it secret from everyone else. As if it’s too icky a subject to burden other people with and everyone’s going to think you’re a victim forever. Then you’ve labeled yourself a victim, and you’ve been taken advantage of, and you’re ruined, and you’re soiled, and you’re not pure, you know.

If I’m in a position where people are looking up to me in any way, then it’s absolutely my responsibility to be open and honest about this, because if I’m not, what does that say to people? It doesn’t change a person — well, it does change a person but it doesn’t take anything away from you. It can only strengthen you. It has made me so angry in the past. Like I wanted to say it to somebody. I really wanted somebody to connect with, somebody to understand me, somebody to comfort me. But I felt like I couldn’t say anything about because it was taboo to talk about.

Fran Drescher

Fran DrescherFran is a 53-year-old actress and comedienne, probably best recognized as the title character in the ’90s American sitcom The Nanny. In 1985 while Fran was still married to her then-husband, writer and producer Peter Marc Jacobson, the couple returned home from an outing to find 2 armed robbers in their Los Angeles apartment. Fran and a girlfriend were raped at gunpoint, and her husband was forced to watch the ordeal. The rapist ended up being sentenced to 2 life sentences in prison.

The series continues tomorrow, with a televangelist and former Miss America to add to the inspiration list. Come back and take a look!