Sexual assault and rape are huge issues both in the United States and globally. Many celebrities have been impacted by sexual violence in some way, both personally and professionally, and have been brave enough to speak out about their experiences and in support of survivors. Here's what they have to say. 

1. Gabrielle Union-Wade

When Birth of a Nation actress Gabrielle Union was 19, she was raped at gunpoint during a robbery at her job. She has addressed how difficult it was to move on from her assault, saying, "there were some so-called friends who came by after my attack, not to comfort me or offer support, but to gawk at me, to gather a firsthand account of what I looked like or how I seemed so they could gossip to their friends."

But therapy helped her overcome her assault and surround herself with people who would help her move past the experience. 

When allegations of rape against Nate Parker, the director and star of Birth of a Nation, garnered national attention, Union-Wade spoke out, saying, "every victim or survivor, I believe you. I support you," and that it was her "responsibility" to support survivors of sexual violence regardless of their choices and viewpoints regarding the movie. 

2. Ashley Judd

Actress Ashley Judd revealed that she is a three-time survivor of rape, and has spoken up about her experiences. 

During a talk at George Washington University, she said ".only when I was a grown empowered adult and had healthy boundaries and had the opportunity to do helpful work on that trauma was I able to say, okay, that perpetrator was shameless, and put their shame on me. Now I gave that shame back, and it's my job to break my isolation and talk with other girls and other women." 

She penned a powerful op-ed for the Aspen Institute, a humanitarian non-profit, advocating for more healthcare resources for the physical and mental effects of sexual violence against women, especially those in the developing world. 

3. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga revealed that after she was sexually assaulted when she was 19, she struggled with blaming herself for her assault and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In 2015, she released Til It Happens To You, a song addressing the epidemic of rape on college campuses. The song was written for the documentary The Hunting Ground which documents the stories of women who were sexually assaulted while they were at college

4. Mariska Hargitay

For the past 18 years, Mariska Hargitay has portrayed everyone's favorite TV detective, Olivia Benson. Benson is a fearless advocate for sexual assault survivors, and Hargitay shares that similarity with her character.

In an essay, Hargitay writes about how portraying Benson has impacted her life and her advocacy for sexual assault survivors, saying, "survivors still largely face the same cultural attitudes that contribute to silencing them and preventing them from coming forward as when I started on the show...these issues remain the most underfunded, under-researched, under-regarded social ills of our day." 

Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation to promote awareness about sexual violence and to empower survivors of assault. She also has created PSAs for the No More campaign, which works to raise awareness on domestic violence and sexual assault and has worked to raise awareness towards the backlogs of rape kits in the United States. 

5. Amber Rose

Amber Rose revealed that when she was in the 7th grade, she was sexually assaulted by a classmate who put his hand up her skirt. When she reported the incident to administration, they admonished her for wearing a skirt that was "too short."

Although Rose admits that at one point in her life she was involved in slut-shaming behaviors, she has since become an ardent feminist and advocate against victim-blaming. 

During an interview, Rose spoke out about the importance of consent in sexual relationships, saying, "if I'm laying down with a man—butt naked—and his condom is on, and I say 'You know what? No. I don't want to do this. I changed my mind,' that means no...It doesn't matter how far I take it or what I have on. When I say no, it means no." 

She also has created the Amber Rose Foundation and the Amber Rose Slutwalk to help end sexual violence and victim blaming as well as to raise awareness to gender issues. 

6. Viola Davis

Speaking at the Rape Foundation, Davis recounted how she was a victim of sexual assault as a child, as was her mother, her sisters, and many of her friends. 

In that same speech, Davis stressed the importance of supporting treatment centers, like the Foundation's Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House, which supports abused children, as well as listening to and supporting the stories of survivors of sexual assault.  

7. Queen Latifah   

In 2009, Queen Latifah bravely revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child by her teenaged caretaker. Her assault deeply impacted her personal life and relationships and revealed how difficult it was to reveal her assault, even to her parents.

Finally, when she was 22, she told her parents about her sexual abuse following the death of her brother. "I knew I couldn't carry his death and that secret," she said. It took an incredible amount of bravery for her to speak up about the incident. 

8. AnnaLynne McCord

Actress AnnaLynne McCord penned a powerful letter about surviving a sexual assault as a teenager, revealing that she struggled afterward with suicidal thoughts and was hesitant to reveal her assault.

She said that her previous experiences suffering physical and emotional abuse made her feel like the assault was her fault and that she had no say in what happened to her body. However, she says, "I have my message for women and girls: You have a voice. Don't put yourself into a box. Don't let the polite lies of society silence you." 

McCord helped found together1heart which is working to bring an end to sexual slavery. 

9. Tyler Perry

Actor and comedian Tyler Perry opened up to Oprah about his multiple experiences being sexually assaulted growing up. He was assaulted by a member of his church, a nurse at a hospital, and the mother of his friend. Those assaults deeply impacted Perry and his later interactions with women. 

Tyler Perry has worked to raise awareness about male sexual assault and the devastating effects it has on victims. When asked what he would say to those experiencing sexual assault, he said, "I would say 'It's going to be all right.'"

Sexual assault is a huge issue, and it is incredibly brave of these celebrities to speak up about this issue and support survivors of sexual violence. If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help (1-800-656-4673).