Oprah Winfrey, who made a career by encouraging people from the showbiz world to open up about their innermost thoughts and emotions, discussed her traumatic first-hand experience of child abuse during a chat with David Letterman on Monday.
Opening up as part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series in Muncie, Indiana, the 58-year-old star admitted that she not only survived a brutal rape at the age of nine, but constant episodes of sexual molestation between the ages of 10 and 14, as well as a series of physical abuse, the Daily Mail reported.
She explained that she had to believe in a “power greater than herself” to get through the ordeal and 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,” the paper quoted her as saying.
“Anybody who has been verbally abused or physically abused will spend a great deal of their life rebuilding their esteem,” she said.
During the 90-minute interview, Winfrey also spoke about her beliefs and how they have 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 it God,” she said.
“There are 1,000 different names for this power. But I know you cannot make it without that belief,” she added.