‘Riverdale’: Camila Mendes Reveals She was Sexually Assaulted in College

Sexual assault is never an easy thing to talk about. Even celebrities who share almost every detail of their lives can find it hard to open up about such an intimate topic. But in recent years, more and more stars have decided that coming forward about their assaults serves a greater purpose than keeping silent.

Riverdale’s Camilla Mendes is the most recent actresses to speak out about her sexual assault experience.

What happened to Mendes?

College should be a fun time in a person’s life. For most people, it’s a time when they can focus on themselves and get a leg up in their careers. But for some, college is a breeding ground for sexual assaults. And that is exactly what happened to Mendes when she attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me,” she told Women’s Health Magazine.

How the assault inspired her tattoo

Mendes had always been looking for a place to call home. Growing up, she moved more than 12 times. But the assault made her search for stability even more.

She got her tattoo “to build a home” after the attack.

“Whenever I feel like I’m going through something difficult, I think about what I can do physically for myself,” she said.

How Mendes finds home inside herself

Constantly being in motion during her formative years made Mendes crave consistency.

“Moving around throughout my whole childhood was a bit traumatic,” she told the outlet. “You’re constantly saying goodbye to people, and you’re constantly being removed from your identity. When you start to feel like you’re connecting with a group of people, an environment, and a home—a physical home—it can be destabilizing when you’re uprooted and taken somewhere else.”

Though she is still on the move, Mendes has found a sense of routine in her daily activities.

“If you don’t have that literal box, you have to create it in your habits,” she said.

Which for her, means going to the same cafes, yoga classes, and hotels, among other things.

Mendes’ struggles

Mendes may be all about health and self care now, but that hasn’t always been the case. Recently, she opened up about her struggles with bulimia.

She felt that it was important for her to be real with fans about her issues so that other women would know that there is life on the other side of an eating disorder.

“They feel like watching somebody else who has gone through it gives them hope that they can recover on their own and come to terms with their own problems,” she told the outlet of the fans she’s helped. “I’ve met so many people who have reached out to me and in passing who have thanked me for speaking up about it because it made a difference in their lives.”

Though she is better now, her insecurities haven’t completely gone away.

“I’ve only recently kind of gotten better,” she said. “It’s something that’s still a curse to me. It’s not like that ever goes away.”

But now, she has a way to fight those damaging thoughts that creep in from time to time.

“Whenever I do feel insecure, I go back to health. What can I do that’s healthy?” she told the magazine. “Health is what’s important, not appearance. That mentality is what takes me out of the insecure, anxious thoughts.”