Oprah Winfrey speaks out about being raped by cousin as a child
Oprah Winfrey has spoken out about being raped as a child by her teenage cousin.
Speaking on The Me You Can’t See documentary alongside Prince Harry, the presenter broke down in tears as she recalled the ordeal.
‘At nine and 10 and 11 and 12 years old, I was raped by my 19-year-old cousin,’ she said.
‘I didn’t know what rape was. I certainly wasn’t aware of the word. I had no idea what sex was, I had no idea where babies came from, I didn’t even know what was happening to me.’
‘It’s just something I accepted,’ the 67-year-old continued, saying the experience taught her ‘that a girl child ain’t safe in a world full of men.’
But, she explained: ‘The telling of the story, the being able to say out loud, “This is what happened to me,” is crucial.’
The presenter first spoke out about the abuse she suffered in 1986, during her talk show. She also explained at the time that she had also been abused by a boyfriend of her mother’s.
‘For the longest time, I carried this burden around with me and was afraid to tell anybody because I thought it was my fault,’ she had told the New York Times.
The Me You Can’t See has seen Oprah open up alongside Prince Harry, Lady Gaga and Glenn Close as they aim to combat the stigma around mental health.
While speaking in the series, Prince Harry said that he used drinking as a ‘mask’ while struggling to cope with the trauma of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
‘I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling,’ he said.
‘I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something.’
A synopsis for the series reads: ‘This series features illuminating stories from across the globe, giving us the opportunity to seek truth, understanding, and a newfound hope for the future.
‘Millions of people around the globe struggle with mental illness in silence. In order to heal, that silence must be broken—and now is the time.’
Victim Support offers support to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. You can contact them on 0333 300 6389.
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