Vowing to be authentic and honest about all that she’s been through, Pamela Anderson has suffered a history of abuse throughout her childhood. But she refused to be a victim to the trauma she faced; she chose to be a survivor because she knew she was so much more than her past.
When she was asked about what inspired her to share her horrifying past with the world, she told Parade, “I don’t always know how to answer that. But to be brutally honest. It felt like freedom. I had wonderful support. I wanted people to know they are not alone. Things happen. Life can be cruel and uncomfortable at times. That doesn’t define you. It’s how we survive and create a colorful life with our experiences. Good and bad.”
Accepting both the “good and bad”, she’s seen the best of the former and the worst of the latter throughout her life. Before building her famed career as a model and an actress, Anderson endured years of abuse as a child right from the age of 6. “I did not have an easy childhood,” Anderson said at a charity event at Cannes Film Festival, according to Los Angeles Times. “Despite loving parents, I was molested from age 6 to 10 by my female babysitter.”
However, those weren’t the only experiences that haunted her childhood. She went on to say, “I went to a friend’s boyfriend’s house. While she was busy, the boyfriend’s older brother decided he would teach me backgammon, which led into a back massage, which led into rape — my first heterosexual experience. He was 25 years old, I was 12.”
She described herself to Us Weekly as being “painfully shy as a child” and these experiences made her grow increasingly fearful of trusting people.
Anderson added, “My first boyfriend in grade 9 decided it would be funny to gang rape me, with six of his friends. Needless to say, I had a hard time trusting humans. I just wanted off this Earth.”
Decades later, there are times when she is still reminded of the horror she experienced. “Today, I want to speak out as a woman. A woman who has survived rape and sexual abuse. A woman who knows how cruel men can be, and how deep the wounds in a woman’s soul,” she wrote in a post for the Pamela Anderson Foundation website. “To this day, I remember the excruciating pain. To this day, I can feel the agony. To this day, their faces keep haunting my sleep – a fate shared by countless women worldwide.”
Although she has had experiences that crushed her, the mother-of-two found the courage to rise up from them because she knows that “people have gone through much worse.”
Having come forward decades after those brutal moments, she has also been activist for the causes she believes in and tried to protect people who are in vulnerable positions. And through it all, she’s also balanced her role of parenting her two sons, Brandon and Dylan, instilling in them the values that she believes they must have.
When asked about the lessons she gives her boys, she said, “I want them to respect women. I say even if it’s just for mom. I haven’t given them too many shining examples in our personal life. I still struggle with self worth and trying to fix people. I’m surrounded by broken toys.”
Knowing how heartbreaking relationships can be, she also added, “There’s no perfect person. There’s no perfect relationship. Love is tragic and hard. And I think the one thing I have shown my kids is that you don’t have to put up with abuse. You are not locked into something.”
Years after Anderson broke free from the shackles of her traumatic childhood, she remembered the words of her mother and said, “Sometimes when you smile, it’s not because you’re happy. It’s because you’re strong.” And it’s a testament to the resilience she has shown throughout her life.