"I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don't speak about them very often," Witherspoon says.
The actresses both reflected on the female experiences in the film industry at the Elle Women in Hollywood event Monday night. They follow in the footsteps of dozens of other women working in entertainment who have shared their own horror stories, or simply stated "me too," after a number of other women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths," Witherspoon said. "I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I've been having about anxiety. Honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier."
The 41-year-old actress revealed she was just 16 when a director assaulted her, then the agents and producers on the project silenced her.
"I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn't," she said. "I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don't speak about them very often."
"But after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we're kind oft told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it's made me want to speak up and speak up loudly, because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career."
Lawrence also opened up about a "humiliating" and "degrading" time when a producer asked her to slim down drastically for one of her big breaks.
"When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks," she said. "During this time a female producer had me to a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. We are stood side-by-side with only tape on covering out privates."
"After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet."
The 27-year-old Oscar winner said she allowed herself to be treated with disrespect because she felt like she had to endure it for the better of her career.
"I'm still learning that I don't have to smile when a man makes me uncomfortable," she said. "Every human being should have the power to be treated with respect because they're human."