'In Pieces': Sally Field memoir reveals abuse and trauma she faced as a teen

Abused by her stepfather till she was 14, and later compelled to undergo an abortion at age 17, Sally Field opens up in her memoir about being a child with no voice


                            'In Pieces': Sally Field memoir reveals abuse and trauma she faced as a teen

Once Sally Field was sure that she had landed the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's movie 'Lincoln', she opened up to her mother who was then suffering from cancer, about an episode of sexual abuse that took place when Field was just a young girl. She revealed that the abuse, carried out by her stepfather - Jock Mahoney - did not stop until the actress turned 14. 

Field confides the nightmare in her memoir 'In Pieces', which she was initially unsure about releasing. During her speech back in 2012 at the Women and Power conference in the Omega Institute at Rhinebeck, N.Y., the actress recalled that even in her declining state of health her mother, actress Margaret Field who was married to Jock from 1952 to 1968, had assured her that she was not alone in her fight.

In her memoir, set to be released by Grand Central Publishing on September 18, the actress barely leaves any space for the limelight and instead, fills the pages with memories of a traumatic childhood. 

Margaret Field was known for her roles in movies like 'The Man From Planet X' (1951) (IMDb)
Margaret Field was known for her roles in movies like 'The Man From Planet X' (1951) (IMDb)

Confessing that she hadn't spoken about the incident for a long time, the actress mentioned that it became increasingly difficult for her to hold back from speaking the truth. The urge strengthened with the demise of her mother who had married the stuntman and actor, best known for his role in 'Tarzan Goes to India', only a year after her first divorce.

In her memoir, Field mentions that her stepfather never seemed to be a man of such nature. "It would have been so much easier if I’d only felt one thing if Jocko had been nothing but cruel and frightening. But he wasn’t. He could be magical, the Pied Piper with our family as his entranced followers.”

Jock was best known for his role in 'Tarzan Goes to India' (IMDb)
Jock was best known for his role in 'Tarzan Goes to India' (IMDb)

Despite being aware of the abuse, and the actual reason behind being invited so many times to her stepfather's bedroom, the actress could not voice out her rage. Field said, "I felt both a child, helpless and not a child. Powerful. This was power. And I owned it. But I wanted to be a child — and yet.”

However, this wasn't all. Field further unveiled the secret abortion she had when she was just 17. Mentioning her teen years as the period when she was “breaking out of [her] own brain", the actress underwent an abortion in Tijuana. However, all of it seemed to cease the moment Field sore to fame with 'The Flying Nun'. 

'The Flying Nun' marked Field's rise to fame (IMDb)
'The Flying Nun' marked Field's rise to fame (IMDb)

She wrote, "I was no longer a member of the club anymore. The Human Club. I was a celebrity.” The actress vented out her frustration through several noteworthy roles in films like 'Sybil' and 'Norma Rae'. “I was able to feel something I didn’t feel before. I heard my voice. And I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t. How long would it have taken me to feel that I had a right to be outraged?” The actress told in an interview with The New York Times