During an episode of “The Me You Can’t See,” her and Prince Harry’s series about mental health, she talked about her childhood. According to Winfrey, she was raised by her grandmother but later moved across the country to start living with her mother. There, she experienced colorism as the “very light-skinned” owner of the home often treated her badly because she was of a darker hue.
“That very first night, she wouldn’t let me come in the house,” Winfrey recalled. “There was a little porch foyer that was exposed to the street, and I had to sleep out there on a sofa.”
Her mother condoned the decision, leading a young Winfrey to realize that she “was alone.”
When she was nine years old, before she was aware of what sex was, her older cousin started sexually abusing her.
“I didn’t even know what was happening to me, and I kept that secret,” the talk show host said on her show. “And it’s just something I accepted: that a girl child ain’t safe in a world full of men.” Fortunately, with the help of some of her teachers, she made it out of the situation.
“It’s my teachers that saved me,” she said. “For so many years in my life, that’s the only place I ever really felt loved. And it’s the reason why for so many years I wanted to be a teacher, to be able to give to other kids what my teachers had given to me.”
Winfrey’s show sees her detailing her experience as victim of child molestation years, but she first revealed she was a sexual assault survivor back in 1986 during a sexual abuse episode of her self-titled talk show.
“The Me You Can’t See” is now streaming on Apple TV+.