I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel details ‘cycle of grief’ after sexual assault

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Michaela Coel has candidly discussed riding a "cycle of grief" after a stranger spiked her in a bar and sexually assaulted.

The acclaimed actress, writer, producer and director spoke to ELLE about her feelings in the aftermath of her assault, stating that her wave of anger, resentment and sadness led to a "final destination" of "empathy".

"I think [about] what happened to me. It's really horrible and f***ed up. To automatically feel angry, sad, revengeful, those are good things. And then your final destination is empathy," the 33-year-old said.

Michaela, whose hit BBC1 series I May Destroy You was based on her trauma from the assault, added that while it was easy to remain in a negative headspace, the feeling of forgiveness was "empowering".

"I hate the idea of somebody being sorry and me withholding forgiveness. Because you leave someone in torment, and actually, you have the power to release that person. Feeling that power is empowering," the London native explained.

Michaela has revealed that she moved past her trauma and does not let it affect her everyday life. She also told the magazine she enjoys dancing alone at night in the park when she knows that "security is patrolling the park".

The star added that she also enjoys making friends with unlikely people.

Speaking of one man she met at night, Michaela said: "I asked him where he lived, and he said he'd just moved around the corner. Turned out he had just left prison and they had housed him there."

She said they enjoyed a brief chat, and she gave him her number before they headed their separate ways.

Michaela bagged four Emmy nominations for I May Destroy You and won 2 BAFTAs.

With Hollywood sitting up to take note, she was recently announced as one of the new cast members for Marvel's Black Panther sequel.

The movie will also star Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, and Lupita Nyong'o and is set for release on July 8, 2022.

Rape Crisis offers support and resources for women and girls who have suffered sexual violence. Survivors UK offers support for male, trans and non-binary victims, as well as their friends and family.

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