Abuse is the improper treatment of one human being by another. Abuse can be of many forms- mental, physical, verbal, and sexual. No matter what kind, abuse has a lasting and harmful impact on an individual. It brings along with it depression and a sense of worthlessness. It becomes difficult to deal with such abuse, and even more difficult to come forward and report it. Being abused also brings along with it a feeling of helplessness, where the abused often feels there is no way to overcome it. But that is far from the truth. The people, who are abused, often feel isolated and alone. But that is not the case either. Here is a list of some of the famous people, who themselves have been through dark times. But they have overcome it, and gone on to make something of themselves. They haven’t let being abused hinder their life, but instead used it to strengthen themselves. Their stories are phenomenally inspirational, reminding us that we are not alone.
10) Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson is a name that needs no introduction. Everyone around the world knows this pop artist. But not many know that Michael was physically abused by his father Joe. Michael and his eight other siblings would often receive a beating or a whip if they ever missed a note while practicing. Their father was a strict disciplinarian who often scared them, thereby subjecting them to mental abuse. He would make them rehearse for hours, to the point of exhaustion. On the famous talk show hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Michael himself stated that he was so afraid of his own father, that sometimes the mere sight of him would make him sick.
While talking about abuse, people often overlook the case of bullying. Bullying is also a form of abuse, which can be just as deadly and damaging as any of the other forms of abuse. While talking about surviving bullying, there is no better example than the one of the king of rap himself, Eminem. Having moved a lot as a kid he finally settled in the predominantly black area of Eight mile in Detroit. At his school there, he was bullied as a case of reverse racism, often getting beat up bloody. The beating didn’t stop until one day his mom filed a lawsuit when Eminem ended up in coma for three days as a result of severe bullying. Eminem talks about this experience in his famous song Brain Damage.
Domestic violence is also a form of abuse and like bullying it too is often left out whilst discussing the various types of abuse. This pop singer was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her then rapper boyfriend Chris Brown. Reportedly they had an argument in Brown’s Lamborghini, in the process of which Brown severely beat up Rihanna leaving her with cuts and bruises across her face and unconscious for the cops to find her, after a neighbour called the police on hearing her screams. Their altercation gained a lot of publicity, with Rihanna pressing charges against the rap star for domestic abuse. Since then she has often openly discussed about her ordeal in the hopes of helping others in similar situations.
7) Mary J Blige:
She is a well known American songwriter, singer, occasional rapper and an actress who has appeared in movies like Rock of Ages. She was molested at a very young age of five by a family friend. A ordeal which, reportedly made her feel worthless as a result of which she took to drinking and even suffered from depression. But with the help of her now husband, she managed to kick the habit and entered herself into rehab for treatment. She reportedly stated that it was the love and support of her husband Kendu Issacs that helped her get through it and find herself again.
6) Queen Latifah:
She is an American singer, song writer, rapper and actress who has a Golden Globe award, a Grammy and an Academy Awards nomination to her name. She revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a kid by her babysitter. She says she bottled up the feelings inside of her not telling anybody as she felt ashamed and shameful over what had happened. But after spending some years in therapy she has emerged strong and victorious on the other side of this tribulation.
5) Virginia Woolf:
She is a well known English writer. A staunch feminist, she is considered to be one of the foremost modernist of the twentieth century. She is well known for her books like Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. As a child she was sexually exploited by her half brother Gerald Duckworth. This abuse is seen as one of the causes for her manic depressive mental illness which plagued her on and off for her entire life.
4) Teri Hatcher:
This beautiful actress is best known for her role as Susan Mayer on the hit TV show Desperate Housewives. As a kid she was sexually abused by her uncle Richard Stone. She was molested from the age of five till she was eight. The trauma left her seriously distraught. She never officially came forward with her story; until one of her uncle’s other victim Sara Cleemput committed suicide. After which she decided to come forward and help convict her uncle. Her uncle Richard Stone was sentenced to a jail sentence of twelve years for child abuse.
3) Tyler Perry:
He is an American actor, director, and playwright. He is the producer of the Oscar winning movie Precious. But before he was an entertainment mogul, he faced a troubled childhood. As a child his father would beat him often leaving bruises and welts across his body. As a result of which he tried committing suicide. Not only was he physically abused by his father, but four different adults sexually abused him when he was a kid, three of them being men and one of them being his friend’s mother, who sexually assaulted him when he was only ten. Tyler didn’t come out with the stories of his nightmarish childhood until very recently, when he shared his story with the hopes that it would be a beacon of light for people going through the same ordeal.
2) Eve Ensler:
A staunch feminist she is well known as the playwright of the famous play The Vagina Monologue. Growing up she was both physically and sexually abused by her own father. Though the sexual abuse stopped when she was ten the physical abuse continued. Because of this she suffered from depression and alcoholism but sobered up at the age of twenty four. As a result of this harrowing experience as a child she has devoted her life in helping people facing similar problems.
1) Oprah Winfrey:
Oprah Winfrey is a name that needs no introduction. Everyone knows this powerful woman who featured number one on the Forbes most powerful celebrity list 2013. As a kid she was subjected to abject poverty and was bought up by her single mother. She was sexually abused by her cousin, uncle and a family friend. The abuse began when she was nine and continued until she finally ran away from her house at the age of thirteen. Coming from a really poor household and facing a lot of problems as a child and teenager, the story of Oprah has been inspiring people for generations. She not only managed to survive all the abuse and problems she faced but went on to become one of the most powerful people ever. It comes as no surprise that she tops our list of famous people surviving abuse.