Rapper and actor Common opened up for the first time about realizing that he'd been suppressing the memory of being molested as a child.
He writes about it in his new memoir Let Love Have the Last Word. Two years ago, while working a scene for his role in HBO's The Tale with actress Laura Dern, he suddenly remembered the instance of sexual abuse when he was about 9 or 10 years old.
“I caught my breath and just kept looping the memories over and over, like rewinding an old VHS tape…I said ‘Laura, I think I was abused’,” he said.
It happened at his Aunt’s home in Cleveland, when he had to share a bed with a family friend, who he refers to as "Brandon."
“At some point I felt Brandon’s hand on me,” he wrote. “I pushed him away. I don’t remember saying a whole lot besides ‘No, no, no.’” He goes on to say that no matter how much he protested, the man would not stop.
“He kept saying ‘It’s okay, It’s okay,’ as he pulled down my shorts and molested me. After he stopped he kept asking me to perform it on him. I kept repeating ‘No’ and pushing him away,” he wrote. “I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.”
Common believes that he “buried” the memory of the assault, but ever since it resurfaced, he's been seeking professional help to cope. He has never confronted his abuser - and hasn't even seen him in over 25 years - but he says that he's forgiven him.
“I want to be a person who helps break cycles of violence,” he wrote. “This is love in action and I intend to practice it.”