Dame Helen Mirren was harassed virtually every day and a man flashed at her on a train when she was just 13.
She believes it is time to act against men who prey on women and she is heading a campaign against sexual harassment.
The actress, 75, vividly remembers being 13 and alone in a train carriage apart from the flasher.
She said: “It was horrible. And they do it because young girls are vulnerable. It’s a power trip.”
But that was far from an isolated incident. She said: “It would happen almost on a daily basis – whether it was pick-up lines, being followed, being objectified. Men exposing themselves… it could be extreme. That would happen once a month to me – sometimes more.
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“When I spoke to other women about it, they would all say, ‘Oh, yeah – me too.’ Every woman I know has been through it. That means there’s an enormous number of men out there doing it – and I was always amazed that no one was really talking about it.”
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Dame Helen told how she was treated like “a piece of meat” as a young actress in the film industry.
“As I got older, I got angrier because it didn’t stop. And I still am p*ssed off that my ability to be out in the world was repressed.
“In my 20s there were times when I would sit in my hotel room reading a book rather than go out and enjoy myself to avoid it.”
She told Stylist magazine: “You’re young and excited about life and then you discover that, no, you’re not safe out there.”
The Queen Oscar winner, who is backing L’Oréal’s Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign, thinks bystanders need to know how to intervene safely.
“I don’t think men have historically ever really understood what we go through. It’s about educating the people around the person who is being harassed that it’s our collective responsibility to take action. The more people look away, the more people think they can continue doing it.”
She is optimistic that the scheme will have an impact.
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