The actress revealed to Women's Health that she got a tattoo of the words "to build a home" above her rib cage after the experience. She says the phrase serves as a reminder to keep her surroundings and situations feeling safe, secure and like home.
"I got the tattoo after my freshman year," Mendes, 25, said. "I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me."
Mendes reportedly blinked back tears and didn't provide additional details on the assault, but said that it's not the only reason she seeks out safety and comfort.
The actress, who moved a dozen times before turning 18 — a result of her father's career and her parents' divorce — admits, “I’ve always, always wanted nothing more than stability. Moving around throughout my whole childhood was a bit traumatic. You’re constantly saying goodbye to people, and you’re constantly being removed from your identity. When you start to feel like you’re connecting with a group of people, an environment, and a home — a physical home— it can be destabilizing when you’re uprooted and taken somewhere else.”
Mendes previously revealed her battle with an eating disorder. “My older sister had an eating disorder, too," she told the New York Post in 2018. "She had to go to rehab. And so when I started purging, I thought, ‘I’m not as bad as her — I’m fine.’"
She added, “My therapist asked me a question that was pivotal: ‘Are you scared of gaining weight — or unhappy with your body?’ For me, it was more unhappy with my body. But I feel nurtured by the body-positive movement right now — the backlash against body shaming.”