Ellen DeGeneres, Busy Philipps open up about surviving sexual abuse as teens

“It’s because we’re girls and we’re taught not to say anything and go along with it," DeGeneres said on her show during a chat with actress Busy Philipps.
by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY
Ellen and Busy Phillips open up about surviving sexual abuse
On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the host talked to actress Busy Philipps about sexual assault.Warner Bros.

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Moved by the the story Busy Philipps shared on her show about being raped when she was 14, Ellen DeGeneres opened up about her own sexual abuse as a teenager.

During an episode airing Wednesday, Philipps explained why she took to Instagram last week to reveal she had been raped as a young teen. The actress said she was inspired by the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who said Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school.

“I was so moved by her bravery,” Philipps said. “It wasn’t something that I ever felt I was ever going to blast out on social media, but when I saw her standing there speaking her truth after 30 years, I was like, ‘It’s been 25 years for me, and I can do this.'"

“We can all do this," she continued. "Politically, whatever you believe, I feel like it’s a real moment of reckoning for women, that we have collectively carried this burden for so long and it’s time to share it.”

When Philipps' yearbook photo of herself at 14 appeared on the show's screen, the actress started choking up and explained that she can’t help but think of her 10-year-old daughter.

That’s when DeGeneres shared her own story, which she has discussed in the past.

“I was 15 and I had something happen to me," DeGeneres said. "When I watched Dr. Ford — anyone who has had something happen to them, you just get so angry when someone doesn’t believe you or says, ‘Why did you wait so long?’”

“It’s because we’re girls and we’re taught not to say anything and go along with it,” she continued. “So you at 14, me at 15, God knows how many people in this audience have had something happen.”

Philipps said she only told her family about the rape about five months ago, after she finished writing her upcoming memoir, which includes details about the assault.

DeGeneres said victims, particularly children, need to feel safe enough to raise their voice.

“I think this conversation needs to happen more and people need to, first of all, teach your children to speak up, and don’t ever keep something in and don’t ever be ashamed and think that it’s your problem and your fault because it’s never your fault," she said. "You’re a child."

Philipps agreed, saying she expects a change in how society handles sexual assault claims.

"We can do better for our kids and the next generation, and we will," she said.

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