Actress Jena Malone posted a throwback photo of herself in a field in France paired with a long caption about her complicated relationship with her experience working on The Hunger Games film franchise on Instagram. In the lengthy caption, she revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a coworker. The post reached approximately 23,000 Instagram users, and the coworker Malone mentions remains unnamed.
The assault occurred during the final film of the trilogy–Mockingjay. Despite choosing to keep her abuser anonymous, Malone did confirm in the comments that they did receive some sort of consequences for their actions. It remains unclear whether the person was a member of the cast or crew of the popular films. Malone portrayed Johanna Mason, the victor of the 71st Hunger Games from District 7, which is located where in the Pacific Northwest of the post-apocalyptic United States.
The films, based on the books of the same names by Suzanne Collins, were wildly popular among young adults, and inspired the popularity of YA dystopian fiction in books and movies in the 2010s. Fans of the franchise were quick to voice support for Malone following her Instagram post.
oh i’m so pissed off about whoever hurt jena malone
— haylee ???????? (@manicmirrorball) March 1, 2023
One of her costars from the Hunger Games franchise, Willow Shields, offered sincere support in the comment section of Malone’s post. “This post has me at a loss of words. I understand and I hope that though the process is so slow you are okay Jena ❤️,” she wrote. Shields portrayed Primrose Everdeen in the franchise.
In a tale as old as time, some voiced doubt regarding Malone’s allegations due to her choice not to name the assailant or pursue further legal action. Despite the criticisms, the statute of limitations on bringing older sexual assault cases to court varies based on state, and depending on the locations of the crimes, there is a chance that Malone may not even be able to pursue criminal charges. It is also important for survivors to choose how to handle their own cases–such can be said for high profile cases like that of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of several rape and assault charges in both New York and California. Many of the charges he was convicted of were decades old incidents.
Malone’s description of her experience serves as a reminder that healing from sexual assault looks different for every survivor. The actress has chosen to handle it privately in the nine years since the alleged incident, and the lack of legal action does not necessarily mark a lack of validity. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) currently has a list of details regarding the statute of limitations surrounding sexual abuse charges, should one want to pursue legal action.