In an emotional speech delivered at a United Nations event, Teri Hatcher revealed being sexually abused as a child. In a heartfelt address, the 49-year-old actress fought back tears as she disclosed being molested by her uncle when she was seven.

She kept her mouth sealed about the assault and as a result, directed the blame within herself and eventually became rebellious. At one point, her mother suspected that something went on between her and her uncle, though she never asked her daughter exactly what happened.

This is actually not the first time Teri Hatcher made revelations about her sexual abuse. In a 2006 interview with Vanity Fair, she spoke openly about the incident and that it was something she kept mums about her whole life.

The uncle in question is Richard Hayes Stone, and his niece isn’t his only victim. Apparently, there is a laundry list of other young girls Hayes has preyed upon. It was only years later when Hatcher heard that one of those victims took her own life that the Desperate Housewives star stepped forward and reported the abuse to the DA. With Hatcher’s testimony, Stone was convicted and sentenced to a 14-year prison term.

In her UN speech commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, she recounted how she was at her childhood home when she came across some old newspapers, one of which contained a story about a suicide victim who killed herself by wrapping a towel over her head and shooting herself in the face. In her suicide note, the woman talks about the abuse she endured as a child and implicated Stone as the perpetrator.

Hatcher concluded her speech by stating that she represents one out of three women who must come to accept the violence for the rest of their lives. The stigma, though, should never prevent victims from seeking help, and that something must be done to change the alarming statistics.

Due to her personal experience, Teri Hatcher is now a crusader against sexual abuse. Aside from her UN address, she was also given the honors of lighting the Empire State Building in honorarium of young children and women who were sexually victimized.

[photo credit: UN Women]