Anika Noni Rose has come forward with claims that she was sexually assaulted while on a flight.
The actress told SiriusXM’s Make It Plain with Mark Thompson show on Thursday that she was assaulted last year and has been unable to find out who the suspect is. “I have never spoken of this, but I will say this out loud now: I was assaulted on a plane last year. And I haven’t been able to get this person’s name; they won’t give me the name of the person.”
The Quad actress says she was sleeping prior to take-off when the stranger’s assault woke her up. “I don’t know this person,” she said. “He didn’t introduce himself. There was no, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ And I was asleep before the plane even took off; I’m one of those sleepers. That engine started and I’m like a baby in a car. I’m out. He ruined it. Ruined it.”
Rose says she alerted the plane’s crew, who offered to turn the plane around, but Rose felt she would inconvenience other passengers. However, things soon escalated and the man was removed from the plane. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself. Yes, please turn the plane around.’ I was shaking. I was so upset and so hurt and angry. Like, angry,” she said. “I wanted to punch that man, and I knew that that would take away from the story that I had to tell. I had to hold in everything that I was feeling to be able to tell this story and be heard and taken seriously from the place I was in. It’s been…interesting.”
Rose joins a number of women who have come forward about their own experiences with sexual assault ranging from allegations against Hollywood execs like Russell Simmons, who was recently accused of assaulting a model in 1991, and Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a slew of women.
Rose says she has been unable to find out who the man was after police dropped the investigation. “There’s a Freedom of Information Act. You’re supposed to be able to get people’s names. I made a report right then with the FBI and they dropped it. They dropped the case,” she said.
The actress says the airline is reportedly unable to tell her the name of the passenger and she isn’t clear why police stopped looking into the incident, adding, “I can honestly say that I have not done much with it. I made my report. I followed up with the police like I was told to do. The police did nothing.”
She continued, “I don’t really know how you deal with that. It was such a sly violence—such a sly violation. It’s a really tough thing to deal with when something happens to you, and you do everything you’re supposed to do, and somebody somewhere else decides: ‘Well, we’re not going to go forward with this. We’re not going to look into this any further.’ You’re walking around in circles asking for information that is owed you. The amount of care that is taken to protect perpetrators is vastly heavier and stronger than the amount of care that is taken to protect victims.”