BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Teri Hatcher delivered a tearful speech in which she addressed being sexually molested by her uncle 35 years ago.
"Recently I had the honor, really, of being able to come forward and help raise awareness of some violence against women," the 41-year-old actress told reporters Thursday during a news conference to announce plans for the third annual Women's World Awards.
She was referring to a recent Vanity Fair interview in which she said she was molested by her uncle when she was 5 years old and living in Sunnyvale. When she learned in 2002 that a 14-year-old victim of her uncle had committed suicide, Hatcher approached Santa Clara County prosecutors.
After Hatcher came forward, the uncle, Richard Hayes Stone, pleaded guilty to four counts of child molestation in the case of the 14-year-old victim and received 14 years in prison.
"There are many women who suffer with these traumatic experiences their whole lives, and they keep those things a secret," Hatcher said, her eyes welling with tears. "They spend some of their lives feeling that the fault of things that have happened to them was something that they caused.
"These experiences ... leave us with a choice, a choice to use our experiences to enlighten and empower and change people's lives, and that is a choice I am getting behind."
The "Desperate Housewives" star was seated next former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who will present the 2006 Women's World Awards on October 14 in New York. The event recognizes extraordinary women and their achievements in a variety of fields.
Hatcher won the World Actress award last year.