Jane Fonda gave a candid speech about the sexual abuse her mother suffered as a child during The Rape Foundation's Annual Brunch in Beverly Hills, California on Sunday (28Sep14).

The veteran actress spoke to the audience about researching her memoir and discovering that her mum, Frances Ford Seymour, was assaulted at the age of eight.

Reflecting on her mother's suicide and their fractious relationship, Fonda told the audience, "The minute that I read that (about the abuse), everything fell into place, I knew why the promiscuity, the endless plastic surgery, the guilt, the inability to love or be intimate, and I was able to forgive her and forgive myself... I will support the Rape Treatment Centre for the rest of my life."

The event was held to mark the 40th anniversary of the Rape Treatment Centre, which provides free help for victims of sexual assault.

Actors David Schwimmer and Eric MCCormack also gave speeches during the bash at the home of billionaire Ron Burkle, and guests included Amanda Heard and Viola Davis.