Keira Knightley has revealed she has been sexually assaulted four times on evenings out as she hit out at the 'culture' of 'silencing and bullying women'.

The Daily Mail reports that the Pirates of the Caribbean star, 32, has spoken out in praise of the #MeToo movement and said the film industry tolerated the idea that men "are allowed to behave in different ways than women".

The London-based actress said the "minor" assaults had all happened in bars, and that a group of her friends had all suffered similar experiences.

"In my personal life, when I've been in bars, I can count four times when I've been assaulted in a minor way," she told Variety magazine.

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"I think everyone has battled their fair share of monsters. It's not just actresses. It's teachers; it's lawyers.

"I'm not talking about rape, but I'm talking about the people who had been grabbed in pubs or their breasts had been fondled by somebody they didn't know or they'd had someone shove a hand up their skirt."

Asked about disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, Knightley said she had only had "professional" experiences with him in two films, The Imitation Game and Begin Again.

"He certainly never asked me for massages or anything like that," she added.

Knightley also revealed she shuns roles in modern-day films because she notes that the female characters are often raped or treated disrespectfully, which is why she chooses to star in more history-based movies.

"I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I've always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces," she said.

Knightley shot to fame in Pirates Of The Caribbean and went on to star in Pride & Prejudice and The Imitation Game, about the life of Alan Turing, and the Duchess in which she played the 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire.

Her next film is historical drama Colette, based on the French novelist of the same name.

While she does not single out any contemporary films herself, Brie Larson won the Best Actress Oscar in 2016 for her portrayal of a woman held captive and repeatedly raped in the film Room.

Other films featuring similarly disturbing scenes include The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the 2009 Oscar-winning Precious.