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Iyanla Opens Up About Being Raped at Age 9

Season 4 Episode 414
Aired on 10/14/2017 | CC tv-14
During her work with five male survivors of childhood rape, Iyanla reveals that she, too, was a young victim of sexual assault. The abuse happened when Iyanla was 9 years old and living for a time with her aunt and uncle, the latter of whom she describes as a "functional alcoholic."

"I loved it when he got drunk. Do you know why?" Iyanla says. "Because I could go in his pants pocket and steal money."

Iyanla says that after stealing 50 cents from her uncle one day, he called her to the basement. "I thought that he had found out," she tells the other survivors, looking back on that day. "He looked at me and he said, 'You know, you are so pretty.'"

That's when he raped her. Iyanla says she told immediately, but her uncle said she was lying, and nothing else was done about it. Forty years later, Iyanla says, she had a realization: "My uncle didn't only rape me because I was a female; he raped me because it was a power issue. He raped me because it was the only way he could show me love. I was an abandoned child living in his home, and I was crying out for love."

If you are struggling or need help, visit RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.

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