Oprah Winfrey opens up on her childhood rapes during David Letterman lecture series

by Rachel Ogbu

It was a very emotional moment for talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey as she as down with David Letterman in an interview.

As part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series in Muncie, Indiana, the 58-year-old owner of OWN network and one of the most influential people in the world discussed her traumatic first-hand experience of child abuse.

The David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series will see Letterman host discussions with other leading figures from the worlds of business, media and academia regarding issues arising in communication and emerging media but Winfrey’s meeting will remain significant.

Winfrey opened up on how she was brutally raped when she was nine and the constant episodes of sexual molestation between the ages of ten and fourteen that followed. She also revealed her rags to riches story and explained she had to believe in a ‘power greater than herself’ to get through the traumatic ordeal.

However, Winfrey explained the experiences she suffered as a child inspired her need to empathise with people in her daily life. “Everyone is looking for that validation. I know what it feels like to not be wanted… you can use it as a stepping stone to build great empathy for people. Anybody who has been verbally abused or physically abused will spend a great deal of their life rebuilding their esteem,” she said.

Letterman who described her as an extraordinary person praised the star for fighting on despite ‘living through hell’ in her early years. “You were not consumed, you prevailed,” he said.

The interview was 90-minute long and Winfrey took time out to also speak about how God helped her rise above life’s many challenges. “I don’t believe you can go through adversity without believing in a power greater than yourself. Some may call is God. There are 1,000 different names for this power. But I know you cannot make it without that belief,” she said.

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