Ellen DeGeneres has revealed her own experience with sexual abuse as a teenager. The TV show host revealed that she was sexually assaulted by her stepfather.
Ellen shared her experiences in an interview on David Letterman‘s Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,
On the episode, airing May 31, DeGeneres talks about her mother, Betty DeGeneres, remarrying a “a very bad man” who hurt her. She noted that she was about 15 or 16 when her mother’s husband assaulted her.
“That’s another thing that, you know, I’m angry at myself because….I was too weak to stand up—I was 15 or 16 and…I mean, it’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually gonna go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not, you know, ever let someone do that,” DeGeneres told Letterman.
DeGeneres says her mother “was happy with him” even though he “was a horrible man, and I should never have protected her.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 28, 2019
“I should have protected myself,” DeGeneres tells Letterman. “And I didn’t tell her for a few years, and then I told her. And then she didn’t believe me. And then she stayed with him for 18 more years. And finally left him because he’d changed the story so many times.”
The Emmy winner explains that her mother did confront her stepfather “but he said I was lying.”
“And then she…stayed with him,” DeGeneres says. “So, that made me really angry.”
“What most women do is, we just don’t feel like we have a voice. And that’s the only reason that this is the first time I’ve ever talked about this to anyone other than my friends. We just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice and we’re scared to say ‘no.'”
“That first time, he really convinced me that he didn’t want to upset her, and he really felt another lump, and he really would just like…and then when I didn’t let him the next time, you know, it just…he just kept taunting me and pretending like he was coming at me all the time,” she shares. “That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, and when I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much. It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”
By Oluwatoyin Adeleye