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Allow Aurora Perrineau to Reintroduce Herself

Her father is the actor Harold Perrineau (from Lost and Oz), and as a child Aurora followed him from New York to Australia, Hawaii, Los Angeles. The moves turned her into the kind of person who makes friends fast—warm and attentive, but serene. As if she understands the present moment just a little bit better than the rest of us, and lives in it. “Now I love it,” she says, thinking about how she grew up. “Then I was not so in love with it.” The back-and-forth between continents meant that while classmates came and went, her parents were the constant. (A tattoo on her forearm has the names of her mother, father, and sisters. Her parents liked it so much, both got ones to match.)

Perrineau tried to act for the first time as a little kid—an attempt that fizzled out when she realized she wouldn’t get every job she auditioned for, was devastated, and quit. In high school she developed a better tolerance for failure. She’s acted ever since, albeit now with an acute case of nerves. When she starts on a new set, she’s so anxious people have asked her if she’s OK. Once a project wraps, she bawls. “I have a hard time letting go,” she admits. It’s almost impossible to square the person she describes with the one who sits across from me in person—more composed than the Mona Lisa.

If Perrineau “came forward” at all, it wasn’t in November 2017 or even in September 2017. It was 18 months before that, when she relented and told her parents what she says happened to her. “It was a very dark time. I wasn’t very good,” she says. “There was a lot of self-harm.” She’d gotten so afraid of the outside world that she could barely leave her house. Her parents hazarded an intervention. The upshot was more or less, “We can’t help you unless you tell us what is going on because this is getting progressively worse and worse.”

To recount the assault, to their faces, was scary, she says. But when she did, it felt like salvation. “If I didn’t get it out, I don’t know what would have happened to me,” she says. With the help of a therapist, she started to think about what closure would mean for her. “It was never a thing like, ‘I’m going to tell my story,’” she says. “I just wanted justice.” Nine months after Perrineau filed her report, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced that it had declined to bring charges. The statute of limitations on one possible charge had expired, and the D.A. said the other charge wouldn’t be pursued due to “inconsistencies and the delay in reporting.”

Still, she’s proud she went to the police. She reaches around for words to describe it. How is it possible to feel vindicated when the scales of justice tip in someone else’s favor? “For a long time I tried to figure out how to get my power back,” she says. “Going to the police station, filing a report—it kind of got the monkey off my back.”

Then came the report in The Wrap. It all could have fizzled out there, but for the statement from Dunham and Konner. Perrineau had no advance notice that the women intended to speak. She woke up to the text no one wants to get: “Did you see the news?” Perrineau read the statement in total shock. She’d never worked with Dunham and Konner. “Woman to woman, I just thought that support would be there,” Perrineau says.

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