Winfrey discusses abuse during chat with Letterman

Associated Press Modified: November 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm •  Published: November 26, 2012

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Oprah Winfrey told fellow veteran television show host David Letterman on Monday that victims of physical and verbal abuse spend years rebuilding their self-esteem.

The media mogul recounted her own experiences with abuse, which included being raped at age 9, during an appearance at Ball State University, part of a lecture series Letterman sponsors at his alma mater.

"Anybody who has been verbally abused or physically abused will spend a great deal of their life rebuilding their esteem," Winfrey said as the conversion began on a serious note before about 3,000 students and others at Emens Auditorium on the Muncie campus.

Winfrey recounted being physically beaten as a child, saying it was a cultural experience many African-American children went through. She also said was raped and molested.

"You're an extraordinary person who lived through hell," Letterman said. "You were not consumed, you prevailed."

Winfrey contrasted her childhood experience with Letterman's suburban upbringing, which the two compared to a 1960s sitcom, the Ball State Daily News reported (

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