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"I Was Date Raped", Says Movie Star

BRITISH movie star Helen Mirren yesterday revealed she was the victim of date rape - by several different attackers.
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 disturbing.
"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 drink'.
"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 the issue.
"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 this situation?"
"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 of men."
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)
Ben English




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