Evan Rachel Wood thinks being a child star stopped from getting help for her mental health issues.

Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood

In February, the 'Westworld' star appeared at Congress to speak to the House Judiciary Committee in a bid to help advance legislation in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act across all 50 states.

She gave a harrowing account sexual assaults she experienced at the hands of two different men. Wood revealed that an ex-partner had "mentally and physically tortured" her and would have sex with her whilst she slept and the abuse she suffered left her with an addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The 30-year-old actress broken into mainstream films when she was just 14 and landed a role in 2002's 'Little Secrets' and she thinks her determination please people contributed to acceptance of her abuse and stopped her from getting therapy until she had survived two suicide attempts.

In an interview with Refinery29, she said: "I had been a child star my whole life, and I had this intense pressure to be perfect and to not have problems and to not burden anyone with problems and to work. It kept me from getting help for a long time.

"There was something really freeing about it, and I realised that I really liked myself. And when I stripped literally everything away, I couldn't sing, I had nodes on my vocal chords. I couldn't walk. I was in a mental hospital. I was like, Wow how did I get here?"

Wood - who has a four-year-old son with her ex-husband, actor Jamie Bell - just wishes she had been brave enough to get help sooner.

She said: "Too often we treat women's pain as lunacy, and I felt like that for a really long time - that somehow I was the crazy one and I had done something to deserve this. Until you get help and face these issues, we'll be stuck in these narratives."

Wood can be seen reprising her role as Dolores - a sexually violated robot - in the second series of HBO sci-fi drama 'Westworld' and she is proud that her character has resonated with so many women.

She said: "I went to the Women's March in Washington and someone had a sign with a photo of Dolores on it that said, 'I imagined a story where I didn't have to be the damsel.' That was the moment I realized Dolores was an icon for a revolution."

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