In 1982, McGillis was assaulted and raped in her home by the escaped rapist Leroy Johnson after McGillis came home from work. This experience encouraged the actress to pursue her film role as the lawyer who supports Jodie Foster's character in The Accused. McGillis was originally approached for the role of the rape victim in that film. She turned it down, feeling it would be too close to her real life ordeal. The part eventually went to Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for her performance.