Ellen DeGeneres has come forward to share more about her personal story with sexual assault.
While talking to David Letterman on the second season of his Netflix Show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the popular comedian and daytime talk show host talked about being assaulted by her stepfather.
DeGeneres says her mother Betty married a “very bad man” who took advantage of her when she was a teenager. Specifically, she says the incident happened sometime around the ages of 15 and 16.
“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in [my mother’s] breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine. 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 then spoke on why sharing similar stories is important. She says that other, and especially younger, women should know that they are not alone.
“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,” said the global talent.
She added: “We [women] 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. 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.”
Keep in mind, this isn’t the first time that DeGeneres has talked about her abusive stepfather. Back in 2005, the comedian talked to Allure about being terrorized by him. In that interview, she shared how he once tried to break into her room, and she only escaped by climbing out the window.
“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.”
DeGeneres also spoke out in 2018 against supporters of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who questioned the sexual assault testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.
“As a victim of sexual abuse, I am furious at people who don’t believe it and who say, ‘How do you not remember exactly what day it was?’” she told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “You don’t remember those things. What you remember is what happened to you, where you were, and how you feel. That’s what you remember.”
DeGeneres also spoke on her show around that time about sexual assault and what it does to the victim’s mentality.
“I was 15 years old. I’m not even going into the details — it doesn’t matter — but we are really vulnerable at that age, and we trust,” she said. “And then when you are violated, you don’t know what to do and you don’t want to say anything because first of all, you just start wondering, ‘How did this happen, how was I that stupid?’ All of these things you think you could have controlled and you can’t.”
Unfortunately, conservative and homophobic minds often come ot the same conclusion after hearing DeGeneres’ story. That her stepfather is the reason she’s gay. DeGeneres has made sure to mention that these incidents had no effect on her sexual orientation.
“People I’ve confided in about this before say, ‘Oh, that’s why you’re a lesbian,'” said DeGeneres. “But I was a lesbian way before that. My earliest memories are of being a lesbian.”