Ellen DeGeneres is sharing a scary incident from her past in the hopes that she can empower other sexual assault survivors to come forward.
In a new episode of David Letterman’s interview show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” which arrives on the streaming service Friday, the 61-year-old TV host describes how her mother Betty married “a very bad man” when she was a teenager.
According to DeGeneres, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her stepfather would grope her breasts under the guise of checking her for lumps.
“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,” she said. “He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”
DeGeneres, who first spoke out about her abusive stepfather in 2005, described how an additional incident escalated to her stepfather trying to break into her room, leading her to climb out a window to flee the house.
“He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran ’cause I knew it was going to go more to something,” she said. “And I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness.”
She added, “I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t, I was too weak to stand up to (him), I was 15 or 16. 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 that she hopes that, by coming forward, she’s able to inspire women who “just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no.”
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Speaking for the first time about her assault in a 2005 interview with Allure, DeGeneres, who came out publicly as gay in 1997, clarified that the incident had no impact on her sexual orientation.
“People I’ve confided in about this before say, ‘Oh, that’s why you’re a lesbian,’ ” she said. “But I was a lesbian way before that. My earliest memories are of being a lesbian.”
Per: USA Today