Ellen DeGeneres hopes her story of being sexually abused inspires victims to come forward
Ellen DeGeneres said her mother married a “very bad man” who molested her when she was a teenager.
The popular talk show host made the claim during her appearance on “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with Letterman,” the Netflix series that returns Friday for a second season. DeGeneres said that her mother did not initially believe her claim about her stepfather, and she’s opening up now in hopes that other sexual abuse victims will do the same, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to — I was 15 or 16,” DeGeneres told Letterman. “It’s a really horrible, horrible story, and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that.”
DeGeneres said the alleged abuse began after her mother underwent a mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis.
“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine. … He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time,” she said.
At one point, DeGeneres said she escaped out of her window after her stepfather tried to break down her door. She was scared that “it was going to go more to something.”
DeGeneres said she waited a few years to tell her mother, Betty, who doubted her story. Betty remained married to the man, whom DeGeneres did not identify, for more than 18 years.
“I always have taken care of her my whole life,” DeGeneres said of her mother. “So I just kept taking care of her. I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, ‘I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.’ And she’s apologetic, but, you know …”
DeGeneres hopes her story can provide inspiration for victims to speak out against their abusers.
“We just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no,” she said. “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. When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up.”
She also said, “It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”