Ashley Judd told the women on "The View" today about the shame she experienced after being sexually abused by several men in her life, including a family member.
"Sexual assault is common in this country -- every two seconds," said the actress, daughter of country singer Naomi Judd and sister of country singer Wynonna Judd.
"I know the shame," she said. "We keep it to ourselves in a secretive thing and we all need the courage to undo it. That's one of the things I learned in recovery."
She said the media was responsible for stereotypes about sexual abuse victims and "shaming women," referring to a recent case in Texas. "There's no such thing as consent for a child," she said.
"The perpetrators are shameless," said Judd, whose memoir, "All That Is Bitter and Sweet," reveals that she was the victim of incest and abuse. In the book, she also writes about growing up in a dysfunctional family and her history of depression. She stepped away from Hollywood in 2004 to deal with her demons.
Judd said her mother had read parts of her book and her father had been "supportive" in helping her piece together the family biography.
She said she had never told her mother about the abuse.
"Things happened to me as a kid about which I never spoke," she said, referring to the man who had molested her.
Her survival strategies were focusing on her academic work. But in adulthood, those failed her, said Judd.
Today, she said she has a new attitude and doesn't blame her family.
"If I let myself, I could get a pretty robust resentment going," she said. 'By the grace of god, things work better today."
Judd made the audience laugh when asked if she could sing. "I can sing," she said. "But other things I do pretty damn well."
She talked about the "life-changing" experience of working with those living with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. "Part of me was sick and tired of being sick and tired," she said. "I tried so hard to look good on the outside."
But when she had the opportunity to do international work in public health, Judd said, "I realized I have so much love to give."
In her memoir, Judd, 42, writes about her traumatic childhood, attending 13 schools before she was 18. She says she struggled with depression and loneliness as her mother, Naomi, and her half-sister, Wynonna, traveled as successful country singers -- the Judds. Not a singer, she was left with her father during the school year.
Judd, the star of "Double Jeopardy," writes of abuse at the hands of numerous men, including an unnamed family member. She also writes that she was exposed early and inappropriately to sex because of her mother's affairs with men.