Karla Souza has spoken out about a sustained campaign of sexual harassment and assault she allegedly sustained at the hands of a director.
Souza, 32, told CNN en Español Tuesday that she was raped by a director early in her career.
Speaking to Carmen Aristegui, Souza, who now stars as Laurel Castillo in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, said she was assaulted by the director while filming on location in her native Mexico. She declined to name the director.
The actress said she had been separated from fellow castmates as she was staying at a separate hotel where only she and the director had rooms. She claims he then started to drop by at odd hours.
“He knocked at my door saying he wanted to go over some scenes and I thought it’s 2 a.m., it’s not appropriate and it’s something that shouldn’t be happening,” she said.
Souza claimed the director knocked on her door again, but when she refused to open it, he “decided not to shoot my scene and then he suddenly started to humiliate me in front of the others on the set.”
“This was the psychological control that he held over me,” she added.
Souza said that after a month of bearing the brunt of the director’s “total abuse of power” she felt she had no choice but to “give in”.
“I ended up giving in to him. [I let him] kiss me, to touch me in ways I did not want him to touch me and in one of those instances, he attacked me violently and yes, he raped me,” she said, wiping away tears.
Souza’s representative did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
Several men and women have spoken out about their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood since the New York Times and the New Yorker published articles detailing a pattern of alleged abuse by famed producer Harvey Weinstein.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
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