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Vanessa Williams has always been quiet about being molested as a child and now she’s bravely opened up about being molested by an 18-year-old family friend when she was 10-years-old. In an interview with PEOPLE, Williams said the girl came to her room and “pulled down the bloomers of my cotton baby-doll pajamas. I lay there paralyzed. What was I going to do?”

Vanessa opened up because she’s prepping for her memoir, You Have No Idea. Although most people who suffer through molestation deal with a lifetime of issues, Vanessa maintains that the molestation has not screwed her up mentally or emotionally. The Desperate Housewives actress tells PEOPLE, “It didn’t paralyze me, and I don’t dwell,”  She went on to say that it did cause her to act more rebellious and “pull away” from her parents as a youngster.

It’s great that she’s opening up about it. This type of disclosure takes a lot of courage.

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For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.