Helen Mirren Says She Was Sexually Harassed Almost Every Day As Young Woman

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 14 Apr 2021 16:14
Helen Mirren Says She Was Sexually Harassed Almost Every Day As Young WomanPA Images

Dame Helen Mirren has said she was sexually harassed almost every day as a young woman, with some men going as far as ‘exposing themselves’ to her.

Mirren, now 75 years old, revealed that a lot of the abuse she faced was while she was in her 20s, and found herself preferring to stay in hotel rooms reading where she wouldn’t be harassed.


The Collateral Beauty actor’s revelations come after she voiced her support for L’Oreal Paris’s Stand Up Against Street Harassment movement.

PAPA Images

As per Mirror Online, Mirren recalled the ‘horrible’ moment a man exposed himself to her when she was just 13. She explained, ‘It was horrible and they do it because young girls are vulnerable, it’s a power trip.’

Sadly, Mirren said this wasn’t the only time she experienced this and that it continued into her adult life.


She continued:

It would happen almost on a daily basis – whether it was pick-up lines, being followed, being ­objectified. Men exposing ­themselves… it could be extreme. That would happen once a month to me – sometimes more.

When I spoke to other women about it, they would all say, ‘Oh, yeah – me too.’ Every woman I know has been through it. That means there’s an ­enormous number of men out there doing it – and I was always amazed that no one was really talking about it.

In light of the #MeToo movement, Mirren also explained that things didn’t improve as she got older, which caused her to get angry about the situation. She added that she’s ‘still p*ssed off’ that her ‘ability to be out in the world was repressed’.

PAPA Images

Since backing L’Oreal Paris’s campaign, Mirren has called on the public to educate themselves on how to intervene safely if they witness someone being harassed.

She said:

I don’t think men have historically ever really understood what we go through. It’s about educating the people around the person who is being harassed that it’s our collective responsibility to take action. The more people look away, the more people think they can continue doing it.

The Inbetweeners star Emily Atack has also been vocal about the sexual abuse she’s endured since becoming a well-known face from a young age. She first appeared on the hit E4 sitcom at the age of 18.


Similar to Mirren’s experiences, Atack explained to UNILAD that men hurling abuse at her, both online and on the street, has become the norm.

Emily Atack Says She Was 'Followed Home' At Night By Man Who Sexually Harassed HerUNILAD

The actor said, ‘What I’ve really noticed is that I’m so used to having men hurling abuse at me in the street, or in a bar… what I’ve been interested to see in the last decade, I guess, where social media is the biggest it’s ever been, the online abuse and sexual harassment is just out of control.’

Read the full interview here.


If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.  

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Celebrity, Abuse, Now, sexual harassment


Mirror Online
  1. Mirror Online

    Helen Mirren Says She Was Sexually Harassed Almost Every Day As Young Woman