- (Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Vanessa Williams has opened up and revealed her personal story of childhood sexual assault. She was only 10 when the abuse occurred and has revealed the details in her memoir "You Have No Idea."
"Family friends who had a daughter invited me to visit their friends in California with them. The family we stayed with had two kids. Susan, who was 18, smoked, drove a car and was the epitome of cool. My friend Nancy and I slept in the den. One night Susan crept in. She told me to lie down on the rug. I was confused," Williams writes.
"'What are you doing?' I asked … I lay there paralyzed. What was going on? I didn't speak. 'Don't tell anyone.' I climbed into my bed, trying to figure out what had just happened."
This is the first that Williams has spoken about her abuse, and she explains that it took her a long time before she was able to recognize that she had actually been abused.
"For years I kept Susan's visit to myself. I didn't really understand until college," William writes.
"I was with my boyfriend, and it hit me, and I blurted out: 'Oh my god- I was molested!' After that trip I felt something change in me," said Williams.
Williams went on to become the first African American woman to win the Miss America contest and has launched a successful acting and singing career. In 2010 she joined the series "Desperate Housewives" and earned a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She has been married twice and has four children: Melanie, Jillian, Devin, and Sasha. People have taken to social networks to voice their support for Williams and applaud her bravery in speaking out about the abuse.
"I applaud Vanessa for talking about her ordeal. This kind of thing happens a lot, but people don't like to talk about it. As parents, I think it is just as important to teach your children [about abuse]," wrote Sepia830 on Bossip.com.
Williams told People magazine that she "doesn't dwell" on the past but continually moves forward with her life.