Written by 1:17 pm Spotlight, The New Yorker

Oprah Winfrey’s Shocking Childhood Abuse


The iconic talk show personality, Oprah Winfrey talked about her experiences with child abuse. On Thursday, at The Dr. Oz Show, she promoted her new book on the topic titled, ‘What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing’. In fact, Oprah’s interview airs on The Dr. Oz Show on Thursday.

Oprah, 67, opened up about her grandmother beating her with a switch. She said the incident occurred when she was bringing a bucket of water back to the family home.

“As I was bringing the water back, I was, like, playing with the water with my fingers like that in the water and my grandmother was looking out the window,” Oprah Winfrey said.

“And when I brought the bucket in and I’m sloshing the bucket cause I’m a little girl, and she’s like ‘Were you playing in the water? Did you have your fingers in that water? That’s our drinking water.’I was like, and I said, “No ma’am” and she (Oprah’s grandmother) said, “I saw you and your fingers in the water,” so she grabbed a switch and I got a really bad whipping for it.”

Later on, Oprah got emotional about the flashback. She recalled the injuries she had in the wake of the beating and the emotional trauma she faced. Furthermore, she said she felt bad for that ‘little girl’.

‘Later, when I put on my clothes to go to church, one of the welts from my back opened up and bloodied the, bloodied the dress, so, my emotion now is not because I feel such deep pain about it, I just feel pain for that little girl,’ she said.

During her intense conversation with with Dr. Oz, Oprah Winfrey gave even further details. She spoke about her upbringing in rural Mississippi. She noted how her grandmother was on guard from her abusive grandfather. Moreover, she revealed that she still had lingering trauma about sleeping.

“My grandmother and I slept in the bed together. My grandfather was in a room on the other side of the wall and one night in the middle of the night, my grandfather gets out of bed and comes into the room and I wake up and he has his hands around my grandmother’s neck and she is screaming,” Oprah said.

Oprah Winfrey continued, ‘She manages to push him off of her and step over him. He falls. She steps over him and runs to the front door. I run out of the bed with her.’

In addition to that, Oprah Winfrey recalled how her grandmother began to call out for a family friend they called Cousin Henry who lived nearby.

“Cousin Henry comes down the road in the middle of the night to help my grandmother get my grandfather up off the floor. And after that, my grandmother put a chair underneath the doorknob and some tin cans around the chair. And that is how we slept every night. I’m sleeping, I always slept with, listening for the cans. Listening for what happens if that doorknob moves,” she explained.

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