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Anika Noni Rose Speaks Out About On-Plane Sexual Assault: ‘I Was Shaking’


Hollywood stars aren’t just subjected to sexual assault by co-workers and executives. Tony winner Anika Noni Rose said she was assaulted on a plane last year and she’s still working to identify the man responsible.

The star of BET’s “The Quad” disclosed the incident for the first time on a radio show, saying she still hasn’t been able to obtain the name of the person who assaulted her.

“It’s a really tough thing to deal with when something happens to you and you do everything that you’re supposed to do and somebody somewhere decides, ‘Well, we’re not going to go forward with this. We’re not gonna look into this any further,'” she says on SiriusXM’s “Make It Plain with Mark Thompson” Thursday, Jan. 18. “And you’re walking around in circles asking information that is owed you.”

Rose said she was asleep on the plane when the man next to her assaulted her, waking her up. After initially asking the flight attendants to keep an eye on him, she decided to have the plane turn around when the man said “out of the box” comments. He was removed from the plane and Rose later filed a report through the Freedom of Information Act with the FBI, but the case was dropped.

“I was shaking,” she says as tears begin welling. “I was so upset and so hurt and angry. I wanted to punch that man. And I knew that that would take away from the story I had to tell, so I would hold in everything that I was feeling to be able to tell this story and be heard and taken seriously.”

Rose vows that she’s not finished with the case and would like to identify the man, whom she took a photo of, to settle things legally. She added that hasn’t easily slept on a plane since then. And while she didn’t go into detail about how the assault went, she described it as “the police definition of rape” but not intercourse. And by Thursday evening, Rose’s Twitter name had “*DoesntNeedToSeeYourPenis*” tacked onto the end.

“I don’t really know how you deal with that,” she says on-air, noting she had never interacted with the offending airline passenger. “It was such a sly violence, such a sly violation.”

The “Dreamgirls” star’s candid confession led to lots of supportive tweets from her followers — and she appreciated them all.

“Just listened,” one person said. “Wow. Sick. I can’t believe that they won’t tell you who it was. They literally have records and witnesses.”

Another tweeted, “it makes me sick to my stomach that anyone could be violated! If you need me to travel with you and carry your luggage and be your security bodyguard! I got you!! You are a Queen to be cherished!”

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