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The prevalence of domestic violence is staggering. It’s time to bring it out of the shadows | Moira Donegan

The issue remains deeply misunderstood, shrouded in shame and judgment of the victims, enabled by excuse-making for the perpetrators

For years, the actor Evan Rachel Wood spoke about an abusive past relationship with a man she did not name. In 2018, she testified before Congress about her experience of being sexually assaulted, as part of her public advocacy for a law called the sexual assault survivor’s bill of rights. In 2019, she testified before the California state senate in support of extending the statute of limitations on crimes related to domestic violence. In her descriptions of the relationship, Wood describes gradually being subjected to berating and accusations, which escalated into demands that she isolate from friends and family, strict controls on her ability to eat and sleep, and eventually physical as well as sexual violence. “He broke me down through means of starvation, sleep deprivation, and threats against my life, sometimes with deadly weapons,” Wood told lawmakers. The abuse would often result, she said, “in me having severe panic attacks where I was unable to breathe or stop shaking”. She said her abuser would keep her awake for days by forcing her to do drugs, and that he sometimes subjected her to inventively violent and cruel non-consensual sex acts. When she tried to leave, she said, her abuser would threaten suicide, or blackmail her with revenge porn. After the relationship finally ended in 2011, she says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

On Monday, Wood publicly named the man she says did these things to her for the first time. “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Also known to the world as Marilyn Manson.” Shortly thereafter, four other women also came forward with their own accounts of abuse at Warner’s hands: Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Lindsay Morgan, Ashley Walters and Gabriella Accarino. (Manson has denied these allegations, as well as similar allegations that have been made against him in the past.) Warner’s record label, Loma Vista said that they would no longer work with him after the women’s accusations became public. AMC networks cut Warner from a segment of the horror anthology series Creepshow, and the talent agency CAA severed its contract with the musician.

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