Accusations and recollections: Sex assault a hot topic in 2014
TORONTO — Sexual assault was a particularly hot topic in 2014 as dozens of women went public with allegations against beloved television icon Bill Cosby and famed Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
Also this year, stars like Pamela Anderson, Joan Collins, Lena Dunham and Shia LeBeouf went public with personal stories of being sexually assaulted.
Pop rock band Maroon 5 was criticized for its hit single “Animals,” in which Adam Levine sings: “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight / Hunt you down eat you alive” and “Maybe you think that you can hide.”
Others took issue with the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey for “romanticizing” BDSM relationships. Morality in Media said in a statement the film promotes “abuse of power, female inequality, coercion, and sexual violence.”
But, in an interview with The Observer, star Jamie Dornan countered: “It’s very hard to argue that when it is all consensual. Half the book is about making contracts. Permission and agreement that this be done.
“There’s no rape, no forced sexual situations.”
BELOW: Watch the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey
In October, TMZ posted secretly-made recordings of 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins in a therapy session admitting to molesting underage girls. The actor remained silent until December, when he released a statement to People admitting to having molested three minor females.
In late November, Jian Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance – choking. The charges came a month after he was fired from CBC as women started coming forward with claims of abuse.
At the same time, a number of women accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
Cosby refused to talk about the allegations — some of which dated back to the 1960s — and his lawyer dismissed them as “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories” and “increasingly ridiculous.”
Cosby has not been charged with any crime.
BELOW: Watch how Bill Cosby responded to a question about the allegations against him.
In 2014, a surprising number of celebrities spoke up about sexual assault.
In May, at an event in Cannes, actress Pamela Anderson revealed she was molested as a child for four years by a babysitter, raped when she was 12 years old and gang-raped only a few years later.
“I had a hard time trusting humans,” the 47-year-old Canadian star said. “My parents tried to keep me safe but to me the world was not a safe place.”
BELOW: Watch Pamela Anderson talk about being molested as a child.
That same month, actress Charlize Theron sparked a fury when she said the attention she gets as a celebrity is akin to being sexually assaulted.
In an interview with Sky News, Theron said she never Googles herself because “when you start living in that world, and doing that, you start I guess feeling raped.”
Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence said in October that a leak of her nude photos online was a “sexual violation.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actress said she was “sexually exploited and violated” by the person who posted the private images.
In October, pop star Kesha filed a lawsuit against music producer Lukasz Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke) alleging that he subjected her to years of physical and sexual abuse.
Gottwald denied the claims and filed a lawsuit in which he alleged extortion.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Speaking at an event in September, Jane Fonda said her Canadian mother Frances Ford Seymour was sexually abused as a child.
“It damaged her life forever,” Fonda said. “She was never able to really love or not to feel guilty.”
Girls star Lena Dunham came under fire in October for writing in her book Not That Kind of Girl about an incident with her younger sister that many believed was molestation.
“My curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked,” wrote Dunham.
“My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did.”
In the book, Dunham also wrote about being raped in college by a man named “Barry.” (Random House said in December it would be changing the assailant’s name in future editions of the book.)
In November, 81-year-old actress Joan Collins spoke on camera for the first time about being raped when she was just 17 years old by actor Maxwell Reed — to whom she was later married.
And actor Shia LaBeouf made headlines in November when he revealed he was sexually assaulted by a woman during a performance art project at a Los Angeles gallery last February.
The actor told Dazed a woman “whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.”
Luke Turner, an artist involved in the project, later tweeted: “As soon as we were aware of the incident starting to occur, we put a stop to it and ensured that the woman left.”
© 2014 Shaw Media