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Ellen DeGeneres Opens Up About Being Sexually Assaulted By Her Stepfather

Ellen DeGeneres is known for her long-running talk show. Usually she keeps things pretty lighthearted. But a recent story, shared on a different talk show, sheds new light on the trauma she's been through.

Ellen's enormously influential.

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She got her big break starring in the sitcom Ellen back in the 90s. She made big news by coming out of the closet — in real life as well as on the show — at a time when Hollywood was less accepting.

She moved on to the talk show circuit.

Twitter | @TheEllenShow

Since 2003, she'd hosted The Ellen DeGeneres Show, better known as just Ellen. The show has produced plenty of viral moments over the past 16 years and 3,000+ episodes.

Ellen appeared on David Letterman's show.

Twitter | @TheEllenShow

Letterman, also a talk show legend, retired from his CBS show a couple of years ago. But he now hosts a Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, where he talks to movers and shakers like Ellen and Barack Obama.

She shared a deeply personal story.

Twitter | @Indiewire

She described the challenges of her youth, saying her mother married "a very bad man" during her teenage years. When her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, things went from bad to worse.

She described her stepfather's assaults.

Twitter | @enews

"He told me when [my mom] 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," she said.

It sparked some emotional stories on Twitter.

Twitter | @divineprinzez

Ellen's story of sexual assault, one done under the guise of being a medical procedure, unfortunately struck a chord for people who shared similar stories of being victimized in their youth.

Her stepdad preyed on her.

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"He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts, and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time," she told Letterman, illustrating the pattern of abuse.

It was a lot for a teenager to go through.

Twitter | @MarkeyCorinne

In a 2005 magazine article, she described some of her experiences, saying her stepfather would literally break her door down, forcing her to kick out her window in an attempt to escape.

Not all of the comments were supportive.

Twitter | @Eggthan324

Here's the thing: why not believe her story? No one is being put on trial here, so no one's freedom is at stake. If someone shares their story of trauma, is it better to show empathy, or to simply doubt them for the sake of doubting them?

Lots of people shared their perspective.

Twitter | @T3rriClark

Putting aside that Ellen first spoke publicly about this nearly 15 years ago, Terri Clark's tweet is perfectly apt: celebrity or not, no one should feel obligated to discuss anything they don't want to.

Survivors aren't weak.

Twitter | @creeandme

"I'm angry at myself because I was too weak to stand up to [him]," she said in the 2005 interview. "I was 15 or 16." She said she was only sharing the story in the hopes that it would stop other girls from going through something similar.

It's another reminder that Ellen is the best.

Her show is a friendly, lighthearted diversion in the afternoons. But let's give Ellen DeGeneres full credit for being a trailblazer — and also for not being afraid to confront harsh truths.