Award winning Chewing Gum star actress Michaela Coel, 30, recently opened up about the sexually assault she experienced.
by Rachel Ogbu
The British Ghanaian actress spoke to the Edinburgh TV Festival that the strangers who molested her while taking a late-night break from writing changed her life.
However, writing about the episode ‘therapeutic’.
Coel who is also a playwright and poet, delivered the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the keynote speech of the festival which has been its centrepiece for more than 40 years.
“I had a flashback. It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers. The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers,” she said speaking bravely.
She opened up about how it all happened when she was working at a production office overnight and took a short break for a drink with a friend. Many hours later, she ’emerged into consciousness’ typing at her computer.
‘When there are police involved, and footage, of people carrying your sleeping writer into dangerous places, when cuts are found, when there’s blood… what is your job? Like any other experience I’ve found traumatic, it’s been therapeutic to write about it, and actively twist a narrative of pain into one of hope, and even humour. And be able to share it with you, as part of a fictional drama on television, because I think transparency helps.’
Coel highlighted that the production company offered her therapy at a private clinic and stressed that she was not raped within the offices of the organisation or a member of staff there.
On the issue of racist attacks, she said as a child: ‘I was called a n***** twice in drama school. The first was by a teacher during a ‘walk in the space’ improvisation that had nothing to do with race.
‘Oi, n*****, what you got for me?’…’
We keep rooting for Coel and look forward to watching her next project, in the BBC mini-series; Black Earth Rising.