America Ferrera is a widely-recognized Honduran-American actress best known for her roles in Real Women Have Curves, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and most famously as Betty Suarez on the ABC’s comedy-drama television series Ugly Betty. An LA native and youngest of 6, many know that she began as a child actress when she was a teenager. What some may not know is that America was unfortunately sexually assaulted by an older man as a young girl.
“I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man,” said America in a 2017 #MeToo Instagram post. “I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come,” she continued. “He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew — that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back.”
America went on to encourage girls and women to break the silence and stigma around sexual assault. Her worst childhood memory did not define America, and certainly didn’t hold her back from personal and professional success! She later married and has two children. She’s also very active politically and speaks out as an advocate for sexual assault survivors. She is a founding member of the Time’s Up legal defense fund and works to give a powerful voice to the experiences of girls and women all over the world, especially in Latin America.