NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Teri Hatcher recalled the sexual abuse she experienced as a child at the hands of her uncle.
The 49-year-old actress spoke at a United Nations ceremony in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Hatcher was abused by her uncle, Richard Hayes Stone, from age seven to nine, and came forward with her story in 2006.
"I was convinced it was my fault and I blamed myself for what had happened, so I didn't tell anyone and I was silent," she recalled. "I did however, unsurprisingly, start to act out and my mother decided to keep me away from my uncle. I didn't see him anymore, but no one in my family ever asked exactly what happened. We remained silent."
Stone went on to abuse other girls, one of whom committed suicide at age 14. Hatcher learned of the victim's death in her hometown newspaper, and worked with the district attorney's office to have her uncle put in prison. He was sentenced to 14 years in 2002, and died of colon cancer in 2008.
"I am simply one in three women who is forced to accept violence as part of their life story," she related. "I am one of three women who for the rest of her life battles the voice in her head that accepts blame for abuse ... This is a statistic that has to change. One in three women can no longer have to face a stigma and a fear that prevents them from seeking help."
Hatcher is best known for portraying Susan Mayer on ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives. The actress has since appeared as Kate Quimby on ABC Family series Jane by Design, and will star alongside Camilla Belle and John Michael Higgins in Sundown in 2015.