Thandie Newton was "super-vulnerable to predators" as a young adult because she had "no sense of self".
The 'Westworld' star claims racial prejudice meant she was never "considered anything" when she entered Hollywood at the age of 16, and says her low self-esteem left her vulnerable to "sexual abusers" because she would be eager to "give something back for being noticed".
She explained: "I think it's hugely to do with my ethnicity. When I set out in the adult world, I was pretty young - 16 was when I started working in movies. I had no sense of myself.
"One of the reasons why is because I was not considered anything. There was a lot that people could have been interested in in me when I was young. They didn't want to express it, because they didn't want to praise the Black girl."
Thandie also suffered with an eating disorder, and says "not having a sense of [her] value" made her easily manipulated by predators.
She added: "It just made me super-vulnerable to predators. That's the truth. Because there's so much about not having a sense of my value. I suffered quite badly for a couple of years from anorexia, and it all feeds into this. Just wanting to disappear. What happened for me was I had a very complicated relationship with ... I never chose. I let other people do the choosing for me. That saddens me."
And when asked what it was she had a complicated relationship with, the 47-year-old actress said: "With sexual relationships. It was like I had to give something back for being noticed. You get predators and sexual abusers, they can smell it a mile off. It's like a shark smelling blood in the water. All you need is one of those to really drive you into the dust. In a way, an eating disorder was just like, 'Okay, I need to finish myself off. I need to get fully rid of myself now.' Unfortunately, that was while I was in an industry where a woman is utterly objectified."
The 'Pursuit of Happyness' actress was changed for the better when she met Eve Ensler when she was 21, who encouraged her to view herself as a "survivor" rather than a "victim".
Speaking to Vulture, she said: "She was performing in a pub in Islington in North London. Afterward, I saw her as she came into the pub and we chatted. I found myself telling her my story about being sexually abused. She didn't look at me with pity. For her, it was like, 'And you're here.' It was the moment I turned from being a victim to a survivor. She just pointed out I was moving through it."