The actress got political at an event in Washington, but danced around rumors of a potential challenge to the Republican Senate minority leader.
At George Washington University on Friday, the actress made one of her first public appearances in D.C. since word spread that she’s considering running for the U.S. Senate. And it was obviously a chance for her to test the political waters.
Judd mentioned Kentucky at least a dozen times in 90 minutes, and although she refused to talk candidly about a potential run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014—admitting there was an “elephant in the room”—she vociferously spoke about what drove her to become an activist and how religion helps her get through each day.
“It’s hard work. I don’t mean it’s just hard work because of the hours we put in—it’s emotionally hard work to be with people who are suffering,” Judd said, referring to her conversations with those who have been sexually abused. “What became essential for me is my faith and that I celebrated those people, too, because it’s so important to have hope.”
Judd spoke about her experiences working to promote public health and women’s reproductive health, and unabashedly drew ties between such issues as maternal mortality, child prostitution, and a lack of gender equality. She praised Congress for passing the Violence Against Women Act this week, but voiced concern over the military’s decision to allow women in combat situations.
“While I was happy to hear that women are allowed in combat, my initial fear is that more rapes will happen because of it, as a way of asserting control,” she said.
Judd also discussed, as she first disclosed two years ago, her own past ordeal: “I’m a three-time survivor of rape, and about that I have no shame, because it was never my shame to begin with—it was the perpetrator’s shame. And only when I was a grown, empowered adult and had healthy boundaries and had the opportunity to do helpful work on that trauma was I able to say, ‘OK, that perpetrator was shameless, and put their shame on me.’ Now I gave that shame back, and it’s my job to break my isolation and talk with other girls and other women.”