"I Was Date Raped", Says Movie Star
BRITISH movie star Helen Mirren
yesterday revealed she was the victim
of date rape - by several different
The screen Dame - best known to
Australian audiences as Prime
Suspect's formidable policewoman
Jane Tennison - said the attacks had
scarred her emotionally for life.
Mirren appears partly naked in the
British comedy Calendar Girls, which
opened in Adelaide last week.
Asked if she was ever a date-rape
victim, Mirren said: "Yes. absolutely.
"Not once either, several times.
"It was all terribly upsetting and
"I was very wobbly about it at the
time. Afterwards you blame yourself
and feel like crap. And we all say, 'I
shouldn't have gone there, had that
"It was all between the ages of 16 and
25 when I had these experiences. I Just
felt men didn't like me for me. I was
being pursued by them for sex
and absolutely nothing else.
Mirren believed many women other
generation had suffered similar attacks but had not spoken out about
"It's a non-talked about subject. I
mean, it's really not talked about
enough. Maybe more women should,"
she said. "What woman hasn't been in
"I felt most men despised me as a
person... it was like I was a piece of
meat. In the end I actually realised
that guys were really capable of this."
Mirren said she had remained silent
about the issue because it was something of a cultural taboo in Britain.
But the soccer rape case that has
scandalised Britain - in which up to
eight footballers stand accused of
gang raping a girl in a plush Mayfair hotel-
revived painful memories.
Hearing about this apparent football
rape, which has been in all the papers,
she told Britain's Daily Mirror that
whether it happened specifically to the
young girl or not - even if she was in
agreement with it - the concept of five
or six men having sex with a young girl
and not even knowing her name was
"very, very scary".
"As a woman you look at that kind
of male behaviour and say, 'Oh my
God, men are such alien creatures. I
didn't know they had that in them'.
Men are so different."
Ironically, at 58, Mirren is considered
one of Britain's sexiest women, renowned for her naked scenes on both
the big and small screens.
But she said it had taken years for
her to recover from the emotional
wounds of the attacks.
"I wasn't comfortable with men at
all. I found they were absolutely horrible - so vile and so cruel and alien
and nasty and disturbing to me as a female.
"They just seemed to hate me. All I could see
was this unutterable hatred
and disdain and cruelty towards me."
The turning point was Mirren's relationship with her nephew, Simon,
the adult son of her sister Kate.
"Younger guys can look at women as
human beings, which I didn't feel men
of my generation could do. I've got a
nephew whom I absolutely love and I
think he's a very special guy.
"Yes, he's a bloke who loves beer and
that kind of thing but he's a writer so
he's very, very sensitive and caring.
But I'm not happy with large groups
Mirren will officially be known at
Dame Helen in December, when the
Queen's Birthday Honours for her services
to acting are enshrined.
Sunday Mail (19-10-2003)