Ellen DeGeneres has spoken openly about her stepfather, who sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager, to empower survivors of abuse to have the courage to come forward, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Appearing in an episode of the second season of Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, DeGeneres said that her stepfather used her mother's breast cancer diagnosis as an excuse to continually assault her when she was about 15 or 16.
"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," DeGeneres told Letterman. "He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time."
"I'm angry at myself because I was too weak to stand up to ... I was 15 or 16," DeGeneres said. "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 also told Letterman that her beloved mother, Betty DeGeneres, did not believe her daughter's story initially but that her husband changed his story so many times over the course of their 18-year-marriage, she eventually left him.
DeGeneres also spoke to Letterman about how imperative it is that survivors of sexual assault feel as though they will be heard.
"We 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," DeGeneres said.
"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."
The second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction drops Friday.