Amber Tamblyn Draws On Her Own Experiences In A Powerful Op-Ed About Believing Women

"Women do not get to have a side. They get to have an interrogation."

Amber Tamblyn is continuing to speak up for women everywhere. The 34-year-old actress, who last year shared her experience with sexual assault in response to Donald Trump, penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which she criticizes society's tendency not to believe women when they accuse men.

In the piece, Tamblyn draws on her own experiences, both past and present — including her recent accusation against actor James Woods, who Tamblyn says hit on her when she was underage.

It started last week, when Woods tweeted criticism of the upcoming film Call Me By Your Name, which depicts a romantic relationship between a 24-year-old and a 17-year-old. The film's star, Armie Hammer, replied to Woods by tweeting, "Didn't you date a 19 year old when you were 60.......?" 

Tamblyn followed that up by writing that Woods "tried to pick me and my friend up at a restaurant once" when she was 16 and he would have been in his 50s. When Tamblyn informed him of her age, Woods allegedly told her, "Even better." After Woods called this "a lie," Tamblyn tweeted a text exchange with her friend, who corroborated the account.

Teen Vogue printed an open letter from Tamblyn to Woods on its website last Wednesday. In it, the actress shared more details about the alleged encounter, and said she was saddened by "the nation's harmful narrative of disbelieving women first, above all else."

On Twitter Friday, Tamblyn tweeted, "I have a big final think piece on the universal disbelief of women coming shortly and then I'm done. For now."

That think piece, published in Sunday's New York Times, is titled, "I'm Done With Not Being Believed." It has received praise from many on social media for calling out an issue many women have faced when coming forward with experiences of sexual harassment or assault.

Tamblyn begins her piece by recalling an instance in her early 20s when she spoke to a TV producer about a crew member whose behavior toward her was making her "feel unsafe." The producer's response? "Well, there are two sides to every story."

"For women in America who come forward with stories of harassment, abuse and sexual assault, there are not two sides to every story, however noble that principle might seem," Tamblyn argues in the piece. "Women do not get to have a side. They get to have an interrogation."

"Too often, they are questioned mercilessly about whether their side is legitimate," she continues. "Especially if that side happens to accuse a man of stature, then that woman has to consider the scrutiny and repercussions she'll be subjected to by sharing her side."

Tamblyn cites a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which found that 65 percent of sexual assaults went unreported from 2006 to 2010. "What's the point, if you won't be believed?" she asks.

"Mr. Woods's accusation that I was lying sent me back to that day in that producer's office, and back to all the days I've spent in the offices of men; of feeling unsure, uneasy, questioned and disbelieved, no matter the conversation," the actress writes, calling the entertainment industry "a business whose business is to objectify women."

Tamblyn said she has been afraid to speak out in the past, but that's changing.

"The women I know, myself included, are done, though, playing the credentials game," she writes. "We are learning that the more we open our mouths, the more we become a choir. And the more we are a choir, the more the tune is forced to change."

On Twitter, the actress wrote that her piece is "less about what just happened with Woods and more about Woods Culture and how we can end it."

You can read Tamblyn's full op-ed here.

Check out some of the positive responses to Tamblyn's piece below:

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