TV Star, Rosie O’Donnell Reflects On Coping With Lifelong Trauma After What Her Dad Did To Her As A Child

56-year-old American comedienne and actress, Rosie O’Donnell is opening up about a traumatic childhood experience.

In an upcoming book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View by Variety’s New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh, Rosie talked for the first time about the alleged sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her late father, Edward Joseph.

The former View host said that the alleged abuse began when she was “very young.”

Rosie, who is speaking about the abuse for the first time ever, further explained that the abuse “sort of ended” when she was 10 years old after her mother died of breast cancer in March 1973, because her dad had to “take care of” five kids.

Rosie told Setoodeh of the alleged abuse;

“It started very young. And then when my mother died, it sort of ended in a weird way, because then he was with these five children to take care of.

On the whole, it’s not something I like to talk about. Of course, it changes everyone. Any child who is put in that position, especially by someone in the family, you feel completely powerless and stuck, because the person you would tell is the person doing it.”

READ ALSO: 9 Ways To Prevent Your Child From Sexual Abuse

In January 2012, Rosie told CNN’s Piers Morgan that her father “had a lot of problems to deal with” personally, which put a strain on their relationship.

“He had his own issues and demons. He had a very tough childhood. He had an alcoholic, abusive father and never really got the help that I think every person needs when they have lived through that as a child.”

Edward died of cancer nearly four years later. He was 81.

Rosie has been a longtime advocate for sexual abuse victims, speaking out against alleged sexual predators such as Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski.

Rosie, mother to five children was one of the first public figures to say she believed Dylan Farrow, who in 2014 published an open letter in the New York Times with allegations that her father, Woody Allen, sexually assaulted her at the age of 7.

“I’m very anti-Roman Polanski and anti-Woody Allen,” Rosie says in the book. “It’s a pretty clear line for me.”

READ ALSO: Mike Tyson Opens Up About His Horrific Childhood Sexual Abuse

During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show in November, Rosie discussed her own mental health.

“I have major depressive disorder — luckily, I’m medicated,” she said and admitted to experiencing “suicide ideation” years after her alleged sexual abuse.

“It means you think about it,” she explained. “You never make the plan necessarily of how you’re going to do it.”

Rosie then connected the sexual abuse she experienced as a child with her body-image struggles.

“I think it’s what your body does to protect you if you’re a kid who’s sexually abused, which I was,” she said. “You kind of disconnect from your body, you dissociate. You don’t pay attention to it. You don’t want to love it, because it’s kind of betrayed you in some way.”


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