Lorraine: Helen Mirren reflects on 'journey' during lockdown

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The movie star, 75, said she ­was continually pestered as a young actress. Dame Helen said: “It would happen almost on a daily basis, whether it was pick-up lines, being followed, being objectified. “Men exposing themselves…it could be extreme. That would happen once a month to me, sometimes more. “Every woman I know has been through it. That means there’s an enormous number of men out there doing it and I was always amazed that no one was really talking about it.”

The star of The Queen said she was treated like “a piece of meat” in the film industry and told Stylist magazine: “As I got older I got angrier because it didn’t stop.

“And I still am p***** off that my ability to be out in the world was repressed.

“In my 20s there were times when I would sit in my hotel room reading a book rather than go out and enjoy myself.

“You’re young and excited about life – and then you discover that, no, you’re not safe out there.

“I am still so angry about that. Women are entitled to walk in the street as much as anyone else.” 

When Dame Helen was 13, a man exposed himself to her in an otherwise empty train carriage.

She said: “It was horrible. And they do it because young girls are vulnerable. It’s a power trip.”

Dame Helen, who is promoting L’Oreal’s Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign, believes bystanders should be taught how to step in safely.

She said: “I don’t think men have historically ever really understood what we go through.

“It’s about educating the people around the person who is being harassed that it’s our collective responsibility to take action.

“The more people look away, the more people think they can continue doing it. It has been ignored for such a long time. Now it’s time to take action.”

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