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"Did you know that at the age of 14, I hid a pregnancy? I was raped at 9 and sexually abused from the time I was 10 to 14. At 14 years old, I became pregnant," Oprah tells Jessica. "I hid that pregnancy from everybody. One day my ankles started to swell. I was taken to the hospital and the doctors said, 'Are you pregnant?' I didn't even know what pregnancy was. I'd been abused all this time, but I really wasn't even sure that the outcome was you have a baby. So I confessed that I had been having sex with people who had been abusing me for years. The stress of that confession caused me to go into labor, and the baby died.

"And my father said to me at that time what I'm going to say to you," Oprah continues. "What you have done is the past, and you alone get to determine what your future will be.

"You have five more years to serve in prison. There are a lot of teenagers out there right now who are hiding their secret, just as I had mine, because I didn't think there was anybody I could tell about the abuse. I didn't think there was anybody I could share it with, just like you didn't feel that there was anybody you could tell. Your speaking out today is going to give a lot of girls the courage to do that. You are not your past. You are what is possible for you. Own this truth and move forward in your life. Forgive yourself, and others will be able to forgive you."
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FROM: Why 15-Year-Old Jessica Coleman Killed Her Baby
Published on November 03, 2006

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