If Oprah's Lying About Being Sexually Abused As A Child, Who Else Might Be?

Oprah_Crying

by Eric Tazelaar

Oprah Winfrey's most recent hijacking of America's short attention span and misplaced priorities, her come-to-Oprah interview with the steroid-fueled über-bicyclist, Lance Armstrong, reminded me of a piece I had written several years ago (but which we did not publish) commenting on the then modest controversy of Oprah's honesty in proclaiming herself a victim of child sexual abuse.

As you may recall, several of her family members alleged that she had simply made up this bit of her life narrative as a means to benefit her about-to-explode career.

Since Oprah has been integral to our society's decades-long purge and neutralization of all things male and the sanctification of all things female (but built upon, we must add, legitimate outrage [which we share] over the oppression of women), I thought that this most recent ritual of celebrity expiation, conducted in the Church of Winfrey, might provide an opportunity to reflect upon the dangers to which we come when truth is suppressed by a culture, a media, a government and one very powerful individual.

Here, then, is that piece:

I want to be clear at the outset, I have no idea whether Oprah is lying about being sexually abused as a child or not. I have no way of knowing.

It has been alleged by her cousin, however, that she made the story up, as well as the story about growing up amongst filth, in order to advance her career. Indeed, one could argue that Oprah's life-narrative of abuse and deprivation was essential in catapulting her to stardom and beyond (possible sainthood?).

Her cousin claims that, when asked why she had lied, Oprah replied "because that's what people want to hear" and that her abuse story "helped make me what I am today.''

But, of course, I really don't know if she was actually abused or not or what form such “abuse” may have taken. And I cannot know, since we only have Oprah's words in which she asserted she had been abused and her cousin's words calling her a liar.

And that's just my point: hundreds of thousands of individuals, the great majority of them men, have been tried and convicted in this country for sexual abuse of children on the basis of their accuser's testimony and nothing else.

And, more often than not, the child accusers have themselves been arm-twisted into giving incriminating testimony by others, usually the police and prosecution team, but also by one or more of their parents.

Few people realize just how little evidence is needed to successfully convict someone of child sexual abuse.

Years ago, after the second Michael Jackson trial ended in an acquittal, many journalists - who should have known better - attributed his success in beating the conviction to "a lack of evidence.''

Actually, no. They were wrong. The evidence presented at his trial would have been entirely sufficient to convict him had he not had a defense "dream-team" fueled by millions of dollars of lawyer rocket fuel and an adoring fan base who would have been scandalized to discover that it is really very easy to be convicted of sexual abuse in America today.

Virtually everyone else of less-than god-like fame and fortune would be languishing in prison today with little hope of getting out within their lifetimes had they faced identical charges supported by identical victim testimony.

All it takes are words, painstakingly extracted from a kid in a police interview room and reiterated (with the benefit of prosecutorial rehearsal) on the witness stand, to convict.

Testimony resulting from days of coercive coaching, cajoling and intimidation today sends legions of (mostly) men to prison in this country and, often, for the rest of their lives. And they will be forever branded and marginalized should they ever be so lucky as to get out.

But the defacto Saint of our time, having waged a multi-decadal war on “secrets”, celebrated for eliciting dark confessions from those entering her television confessional, has been entirely mute on this most glaring truth.

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