Who raped Oprah Winfrey? Host cries as she recalls sexual abuse at 9 by teen cousin: 'It's something I accepted'
Talk show host and producer Oprah Winfrey has once again divulged that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. The latest claims have come in the first episode of 'The Me You Can't See', a mental health show co-hosted by Winfrey and Prince Harry. While she didn't provide many details, Winfrey broke down as she delved into the horrific incidents from her childhood.
This isn't the first time Winfrey has opened up about her past. In 1986, she mentioned having been raped in a groundbreaking moment on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'. Winfrey has never named her abuser nor provided many details to the public. The latest revelations are one of the many shocking stories expected to come from the Apple TV show, which features celebrities like Lady Gaga, Glenn Close DeMar DeRozan. The show sees Winfrey and Harry explore various facets of mental health in a five-part series.
Who raped Oprah Winfrey?
Since she has never provided many details, there's no clear indication of who exactly raped Winfrey. Back in November 1986, she was doing a show on childhood sexual abuse victims when she first claimed she too was a victim of abuse. She said that a cousin raped her when she was nine. Since that moment, Winfrey became an advocate for sexual abuse survivors.
Earlier, in March 1986, The New York Times ran an article about Winfrey and provided more details about her abuse. "Not only had she been raped by a cousin when she was 9, she had also been sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend," the report said. She told the publication, "For the longest time, I carried this burden around with me and was afraid to tell anybody because I thought it was my fault."
In May 2021, she once again talked about her experiences in an interview with TODAY's Hoda Kotb. "I wouldn't take anything for having been raised the way that I was. It is because I was sexually abused," she said. Winfrey recalled, "The first time I was able to admit that I had been sexually abused, raped, assaulted as a 9-year-old happened on television. And it happened on television because a woman was sharing her story. And I thought, I swear, until that moment I was the only person who ever had that happen to me."
In 'The Me You Can't See', she told Harry, "At nine and 10 and 11 and 12 years old, I was raped by my 19-year-old cousin. 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." She added that "The telling of the story, the being able to say out loud, 'this is what happened to me,' is crucial."
In the first episode of the show, Lady Gaga too opened up about being raped before becoming a celebrity. "I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old. I also developed PTSD as a result of being raped and not processing that trauma," she said on the show.