Detroit - In her first public comments since accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, actress Rose McGowan said on Friday she has been "silenced for 20 years" but won't remain quiet about sexual assault and harassment.
McGowan, delivering opening remarks at The Women's Convention in Detroit, thanked the audience "for giving me wings during this very difficult time".
"The triggering has been insane — the monster's face everywhere, my nightmare," she said. "I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you. What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand."
McGowan has been one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, and tweeted earlier this month that she was raped by a man with the initials "HW." The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed she was referring to Weinstein.
On Twitter, McGowan has amassed supporters and urged them to call out harassment using the #RoseArmy hashtag. McGowan has starred in several films, including Scream, Jawbreaker, and Planet Terror, as well as the early 2000s television series Charmed.
Rose McGowan waves after being introduced by Tarana Burke, right, founder, #MeToo Campaign, at the inaugural Women's Convention in Detroit. (Paul Sancya, AP)
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company on 8 October after The New York Times published an expose that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. The Oscar-winning producer apologised without addressing any specific conduct, but has denied later allegations by several women that he raped them.
The New York Times also reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of $100 000 to McGowan in 1997 over an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Police in London, Los Angeles and New York are investigating Weinstein, 65.
He sued his former company on Thursday, seeking access to e-mail and personnel records his lawyer contends would exonerate him.
On Friday, McGowan said because Hollywood is male-dominated, "we are given one view". She said the entertainment industry isn't isolated; instead, "it is the mirror you are given to look into".
"I know the men behind that view. They shouldn't be in your mind and they shouldn't be in mind. It's time to clean house," she said.
Watch her full speech here:
McGowan participated in a panel later on Friday and elaborated on changes that could be made to prevent harassment and sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.
"In regards to Hollywood, we have no rights," she said. "There is no such thing as sexual harassment laws."
She said biases against women make their way into scripts as well, with the large numbers of men in writers' rooms.
"Writers in Hollywood use rape as a plot device," she said. "They can't imagine a woman getting strong otherwise."
She was joined on the panel by fellow actress Amber Tamblyn, who said there has "always been sort of a quiet conversation happening in our business" about sexual violence. Going public historically meant risking "a complete destruction of your character," but allegations against Weinstein and others have started to change the game.
"The linchpin has been pulled out of the grenade," Tamblyn said. "I'm proud to be a part of that."