Pamela Anderson — still best known from Baywatch and for being a sex symbol around the world — has also long been a voice for compassion, especially in support of animals.
She just spoke during the Cannes Film Festival at the launch party for her animal rights charity, the Pamela Anderson Foundation, and in her speech she revealed tragic secrets from her past, including molestation and rape.
Pam shared a link to her full speech on May 18, tweeting, "My speech at launch of my Namesake foundation. I want people to know - they can overcome and prosper with love..."
Here are excerpts from her address:
"I did not have an easy childhood. Despite loving parents, I was molested from age 6-10 by my female babysitter. I went to a friends boyfriend's house — while she was busy. The boyfriend's older brother decided he would teach me backgammon which led into a back massage which led into rape — my first heterosexual experience. He was 25 yrs old, I was 12. My first boyfriend in grade 9 decided it would be funny to gang rape me (with 6 of his friends). Needless to say I had a hard time trusting humans — I just wanted off this earth."
Pamela said her parents tried to keep her safe, but this world is not a safe one. Her dad was an alcoholic and her mom worked two jobs waitressing, and was always crying. "Dad didn't always come home, leaving us in tremendous pain and worry. I couldn't bear to give her any more disruptive information. I couldn't break her heart any more than it was breaking. I kept these events to myself. Sometimes when you smile, it's not because you’re happy. It's because you’re strong."
Pamela said her affinity with animals saved her, they came to her naturally. "My loyalty remained with the animal kingdom — I vowed to protect them and only them. I prayed to the whales with my feet in the ocean. My only real friends — till I had children."
Read her full speech for more. It's chilling to know we live in a world with so much cruelty. It's no wonder Pam has so much empathy and compassion for others, especially creatures as defenseless as animals. All of her trials have given her strength and now she's channeling that strength in a positive way. Keep fighting, Pam!