Rapper and actor Common recently revealed publicly that he was molested as a child, and that he has been suppressing the traumatic memories of the abuse for years.
The Oscar-winning artist is releasing his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, which explains that he came to the realization that he was molested while participating in an acting workshop, for a scene for his role in The Tale with actress Laura Dern.
"One day, while talking through the script with Laura, old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind," he wrote. "I caught my breath and just kept looping the memories over and over, like rewinding an old VHS tape... I said, 'Laura, I think I was abused.'"
According to Common, the incident happened when he was nine or 10 years old, growing up in Chicago.
"I was excited for a road trip I was about to take with my family," he recalled. "My mother; my godmother, Barbara; her son and my god brother Skeet; and his relative, who I'll call Brandon."
Common, 47, told his fans that the relative whom he renamed "Brandon" sexually assaulted him at their aunt's home in Cleveland while they shared a bed one night on the trip.
"At some point, I felt Brandon's hand on me," he wrote. "I pushed him away. I don't remember saying a whole lot besides, 'No, no, no.'"
He added that no matter how much he begged him to stop, his abuser only continued to assault him.
"He kept saying, 'It's okay, it's okay,' as he pulled down my shorts and molested me," he said. "After he stopped, he kept asking me to perform it on him. I kept repeating 'No' and pushing him away. I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened."
The actor/musician explained that he believes he "buried" the memory of his assault as "a matter of survival," but has since chosen to get professional help to cope with it.
"I just pushed the whole thing out of my head," he admitted. "Maybe it's a matter of survival — Even now, two years after that flash resurgence of memories, as I'm writing, I'm still working through all of this in myself and with my therapist."