Amy Schumer opens up about an abusive relationship, ‘I got hurt by accident a lot’


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Amy Schumer had an conversation with Oprah, on her SuperSoul Conversations show on OWN, in which they discussed suffering abuse in romantic relationships. It was heartfelt and real and I found myself really missing Oprah. She’s so genuine and skilled at getting guests to open up. Amy has previously revealed, in an interview in 2016, that she had been in an abusive relationship at some point in her past. (That relationship predates her last known boyfriend whom she broke up with prior to her marriage, Ben Hanisch.) Amy has also opened up before about the fact that her first sexual experience, at age 17, was not consensual. To Oprah she talked about both of those things in detail. Watching the clips got me teary. The way Amy framed the issue of abuse and being in an abusive relationship really resonated with me. Even though you’re no longer in that situation you remember what it’s like and you realize that abuse can happen to anyone. Here’s some of what Amy said, thanks to People, and you can see the videos below.

On being in an abusive relationship
“I got hurt by accident a lot. He didn’t realize how hard he’d grabbed me or shook me or pushed me, and I would fall and hit something then I’d be hurt. I can picture being thrown on the hood of a car like it was an hour ago.

“And running from him, carrying my shoes and running from him, running into backyards trying to get away from him because I was afraid for my life. It’s so out of body. You think, ‘I’m not this woman, who is this woman? This can’t be me.’ I’m not that kind of woman, and then you realize there is no kind of woman. It happens to all woman.”

“And then again I would feel bad for him after he hurt me about how bad he would feel,” she said. “You don’t choose to fall in love with someone who hurts you, and you can be in love with someone who hurts you.”

On being raped at 17
“I lost my virginity while I was asleep. So, in my stand-up, I used to talk about — I called it, ‘gray-area rape,’ which was my way of bringing this up in my stand-up… trying to make people laugh while they learned. When we hear about rape when we’re children, it’s about a guy popping out from a bush and this villain. They don’t say it’s probably going to be a guy who you know very well. It could be your husband, your friend. You think when that happens to you, you say, ‘Okay, well this isn’t someone I want to see rotting in a jail cell but what he did to me was wrong and I didn’t consent.’”

“In my stand-up, I would say if she’s asleep that’s a no,” she said, adding her boyfriend at the time had explained that he had thought she “knew” they were going to have sex.

“I didn’t say anything [about consenting]. He was my boyfriend, I loved him, I had to comfort him,” Schumer recalled. “I also felt really angry which… it was just a feeling I had, I felt really angry with him. It’s a rage that’s stayed with me. I don’t think you lose that. As women, we’re trained not to get angry because that makes people dismiss you right away. But I felt — I wanted to comfort him and try to push my anger down…

“I was confused as to why he would have done this to me in this way, but the most dominant feeling I felt was that the guy I was in love with was upset and I wanted to help him,” she wrote. “I was seventeen years old and wanted my boyfriend to like me.”

[From Own via People]

Amy said, of her abusive partner, “I would feel bad for him, after he hurt me, knowing how bad he would feel.” That and her description of comforting her rapist was just heartbreaking and true. She’s so right that we’re trained not be angry, that we’re taught that this is somehow unacceptable no matter how horribly we’re violated.

If you’re interested I would recommend that you watch the clips below, but they’re hard to take. I still have a sick feeling in my stomach because I could relate to so much of what she said. Amy impressed and touched me in this interview. I would say that Oprah has that way with people, but that’s only part of it.

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Photos credit: WENN, screenshot from OWN

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61 Responses to “Amy Schumer opens up about an abusive relationship, ‘I got hurt by accident a lot’”

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  1. Honey Bear says:

    She has low self esteem. It can’t happen to any woman. It happens to women with low self esteem and it shines through in everything she says about the events. She didn’t value herself enough to stand up.

      • mamacita says:

        to honey bear
        wow and no. you need to do some self reflection before you criticize her. have you ever been gaslighted? do you even know what it means? when you love someone and they manipulate you, you don’t always realize what’s happening. abusive relationships don’t start at peak abuse. the abuse generally happens later when you’re already emotionally connected. wake up and educate yourself instead of putting her down for low self esteem. that’s way too simple of a statement and untrue. people like you are part of the problem abuse persists when victims are ashamed to speak out.

    • PPP says:

      I don’t even like Amy Schumer, but what an awful, awful thing to say. And you’re not just saying it specifically about Amy Schumer. Any abused woman is going to see herself in your ignorant, disrespectful comments. Abused women tend to have self esteem problems, sure, but it’s because abusers are artists at destroying their partner’s self esteem.

    • deets says:

      Piffle. That a lot of misinformation in one jackass victim blaming post.
      Abusers often target women with high self esteem, some look for easy victims, some look for challenges.

      A more correct, and also empathetic statement, would be to understand that her self esteem may be impacted by the events she faced, not that she caused them by not being ‘strong’ enough.

      • deets says:

        Replying to myself, because why not.

        Another point needs to be mentioned here, and it’s the assumption that ‘weak’ women do not deserve protection. That a woman deserves it if her self confidence is too low.

        All women and all men deserve to be free from abuse. Regardless of their ‘strength’ or lack thereof.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Man, one comment in and we already have victim blaming. Impressive.

      I highly recommend you pick up a book detailing abuser psychology and get an idea of how deceptive and clever abusers often are. Abuse starts well before it gets to the point of physical and emotional violence. The worst abusers are the ones who worm their way and wear away at the self-esteem and independence of their victims. I watched it happen to my sister over the course of four years. There are no parameters for victims. They can be anyone at any time in any situation because nobody is inherently immune to abuse tactics. There are just victims lucky enough to catch the red flags before it’s too late. We just tell ourselves otherwise because nobody wants to believe it could happen to them.

    • Lisa says:

      Someone should squeeze the stupidity out of you, Honey Bear.

    • mamacita says:

      wow and no. you need to do some self reflection before you criticize her. have you ever been gaslighted? do you even know what it means? when you love someone and they manipulate you, you don’t always realize what’s happening. abusive relationships don’t start at peak abuse. the abuse generally happens later when you’re already emotionally connected. wake up and educate yourself instead of putting her down for low self esteem. that’s way too simple of a statement and untrue. people like you are part of the problem abuse persists when victims are ashamed to speak out.

    • Umyeah says:

      Ugh just stop, that is such a ridiculous thing to say.

    • Lisa L says:

      I can definitely relate to what she said. I’ve ran and hid in the bushes in my own yard holding our baby and my toddler’s hand. I didn’t have low self-esteem then nor do I now. I’m sick and tired of anyone who knows anything about my history telling me that’s what it was. That was a mean comment. It’s a very conflicting situation to be in. You don’t knowingly put yourself in that mess it just happens and then there you are trying to figure out what to do.

      • PPP says:

        Bravo. As someone who had to pretend to be in a relationship with the guy who strangled me until I could get out of our apartment, I too and done and done with the poor-self-esteem-irrational-weak crap. Was I supposed to live on the street? Sometimes we stay even though we know we’re gonna leave, and there are good reasons for it. Particularly when kids are involved.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yes, if only women felt better about themselves, men would stop abusing them.

      *insert eye roll*

      I really hope you come to realize how ridiculous your stance is.

    • girl_ninja says:

      What a disgusting and wrong headed thing to share. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • lucy2 says:

      This is a very wrong and hurtful thing to say. Please read more about this, listen to what others are telling you here, and educate yourself.
      Victim blaming helps no one.

    • tonetest says:

      I know the commenters here tend to skew older than other pop culture sites, but I didn’t know it had people from the 1850s!

    • Jessica says:

      Isn’t really disgusting to insinuate that a strong, smart, and/or attractive woman can’t be a victim of DV. You are so way off base.

      Rihanna doesn’t have low self-esteem and she was battered.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I’m sorry, but no, that’s wrong, @Honeybear

    • Cee says:

      This comment is hurtful and wrong on so many levels. I wish I could unread it.
      I was raped by my ex. It wasn’t consensual. What he did to me was wrong and even if it lasted less than a minute, what he was doing to me hurt so much, surprised me so much, all of my air left my lungs and I froze.

      I have normal self-esteem. I know my worth. I dumped him 4 days later, first time I saw him after the incident, at a café, because I was scared. I also had to move out of my own apartment to be away from him (he had purposely moved a block away from me).

      So NO, this doesn’t only happen to women with low self-esteem. The fact you believe that is… shame on you.

    • Jaded says:

      @Honeybear: It’s pretty hard to “stand up” when your arms and legs are pinned down and a 200 lb. man is lying on top of your 120 lb. body. Believe me if it were nothing but a lack of self-esteem we’d all be safe and there would be no need for the #metoo movement. Almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed and/or attacked, including me. I guess in your weird mind most women on the planet have low self-esteem therefore inviting an unwanted assault.

      Next time you want to comment on this issue maybe you should think things through before making a silly knee-jerk statement like this.

    • Tulip Garden says:

      I don’t even know how to address such an ignorant comment. Are you just feeling safe because you don’t suffer from low self esteem? That must be comforting but it is also wrong, dangerously so. Sexual predators whether strangers, boyfriends, husbands, or pals don’t stop to take a survey on your self esteem level before they assault you or rape you. Surprisingly, they just don’t give a damn about their victim’s self worth! I know crazy, right? I’ll give you that they will gaslight you, anything to make it “your fault”. You would probably be a perfect victim for that because you refuse to think that it could happen to you so in a hop, skip, and jump you could convince yourself that it didn’t.
      Does this help you understand? I am not trying to pile on. I am trying to elucidate the problem with your thinking.

      Also, I really felt for Schumer and Oprah here. Just heart wrenching. BTW, I don’t think Oprah suffers from low self esteem either if that isn’t obvious.

    • Lizzie says:

      people have low self esteem *because* they are abused and manipulated….NOT the other way around.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I know there is a lot of push back already, but there is never going to be “enough” push back against this kind of BS.

      ” It can’t happen to any woman”

      YOU ARE FULL OF SH*T. YES IT CAN AND YES IT DOES.

    • Kbars85 says:

      I just want to point out, in a gentle fashion, Honeybear, that your comment is understandable in one sense – how could any woman put up with abuse if she respected herself? It seems crazy. But having lived through an abusive marriage, I know for a fact that abuse can happen to any woman, any where. It isn’t about the woman, it is about her abuser.

      The abuser doesn’t come to the first date and call you a disgusting fat whore. It took years for my husband to work up to that. By the time the worst happens, there have been so many smaller abuses leading up to that moment and the abuser has destroyed you – not just made you have “low self esteem” – it is so much worse. An abuser systematically isolates you from friends and family, makes you doubt yourself to your very core, and worse. The abuser is also very skilled at making his abuse problem something that is usually your fault or at best, is something that you need to work on “together.”

      Just wanted to finish by pointing out that there is one, and only one, reason women are abused: because their partner has a problem with abuse. There is no fault, cause, or reason for it that lies with the abuse survivor.

      • deets says:

        Very much so, everything you said. I’m sorry you had to live through that, but very glad you can lend your voice and insight to this issue now.

        I read a quote here many years ago, about how abuse is like the river running through the Grand Canyon. It doesn’t start by cutting deeply, it begins slowly, drop by drop, eroding your confidence and self so slowly you don’t even notice it. I never do the eloquence of the original justice though.

    • SKF says:

      No. My best friend who is beautiful, intelligent and confident with high self esteem ended up in an abusive relationship. I was raped by my boyfriend when I was 17 and I did not have low self esteem and was similarly confused, betrayed and messed up. Women do not end up raped or abused by partners because they have low self esteem, that is othering and over-simplifying.

    • K-Mac says:

      Are we sure “Honey Bear” isn’t a bot? This just seems like an inflammatory thing to say on purpose. Also, I am not seeing “Honey Bear” responding again. Maybe I have missed it in the thread. Want to talk about gaslighting, jeez…..

    • Eloisa Mago says:

      to honeybear. you are stupid. please go away

  2. Natalie S. says:

    Thanks for writing about this. I watched these clips yesterday and they really resonated with me. When she talked about how when a woman speaks up about being assaulted, it’s like the public takes her story away from her and says, No, we’ll decide if you gave consent. That really stayed with me.

    Also, about women being afraid to be angry because that gets you dismissed immediately and when she talked about her boyfriend being abusive, but loving her abuser and feeling protective of him because he was her boyfriend. Having a realization that his abuse was to control her because he didn’t want her to leave -which even then was phrased in a way that was caring and what that means about your abuser being someone you love. I’m slowly making my way through the full interview.

  3. savu says:

    She also talked a lot about it in her book. I was really moved by how open she was about the whole breadth of emotions she felt, and pushed how it really could happen to anyone.

    I love her in moments like this. It’s why I get so mad at her when she says stupid shit!

  4. mamacita says:

    wow. thank you amy for explaining it all so well. it really rings true.

  5. Slowsnow says:

    It seemed to me that it was Oprah who was very eloquent and helped Amy detail her experiences in a more descriptive way.
    Which means that Amy S. is still processing and healing and that Oprah has been there a long time ago, and healed.
    Really helpful to have BOTH of them talking about this, regardless of wether we like them or not.

    It was a truly important and honest description for when A MONSTER TAKES AWAY YOUR SELF ESTEEM (for @Honey Bear upthread)

  6. susiecue says:

    Thanks for posting this, I think these stories are so important and could help someone who’s struggling get the help they need or even just know they’re not alone. It’s a tough subject to tackle, and I think she said some great things here.

  7. Umyeah says:

    She is so right when she says we expect rapists to be guys hiding in bushes and not our husbands/boyfriends/friends. I am glad she feels empowered to speak bc she brings up great points.

  8. girl_ninja says:

    I’m sad that Amy went through this kind of abuse. It can take years to process such horrible experiences. It frustrates me that she shuts down the WOC who sometimes question her actions and the things that she says. I hope that she chooses growth and that she can heel from the past abuse.

  9. Léna says:

    A few months ago, I posted a comment on a post here and a lot of you helped me understand that the guy who chocked me was abusive and that I should stop any contact with him because of this but also his post-behavior to that moment. And I just want to repeat : Thank you for everyone’s support.
    I learned a lot from you, reading comments for 2/3 years now. (I found this website when Depp/Heard divorce was happening and everyone was defending Depp on other websites). It is a fact that reading the comments and the solidarity here helped me a lot to find my voice and open up about the rape I suffered from, because I was also in the “Was that really rape?” state of mind for 2 years. And even if I stopped seeing the guy who raped me after what he did, I made the mistake of ever doubting myself after he punched me to the ground and raped me while I said no and stop: talking myself that it was rape, then thinking that maybe I should have known that he would want sex after our theatre date and staying the night because I didn’t want to walk and take the subway alone in Paris in a little dress in June. That what’s probably my biggest regret because what came in the morning was even worse and I’m still dealing with it.

    I just wanted to say to the women on this website, thank you. Even if even on this post some commenters are victim blaming, you are the reason I feel safe here and listened and not ashamed anymore.

  10. Jessica says:

    I always want to hear victims of DV speak; between her and Kelis we need more women (and men) to come forward. As an audience, we also need to be more respectful and not make snap judgments.

  11. Luisa says:

    I have never been a big fan of Amy Schumer (although I have not detested her like some people do), but what she is saying is so important, good for her. I can tell that she is a very strong woman.

  12. Egla says:

    Well one thing I have learned from seeing my friends suffer is that abusers come in all forms and shapes. Right now I have one friend in a relationship like that. He is a special kind of abuser to say the least. He is super educated, charming, polite to an extreme (I always say to people that it’s not normal when someone is too good, or too kind-those are the people that scare me the most) but he is playing her like a piano for 5 years now, I can’t even begin to explain the mind games he does to her. Recently he made her loose 15 KILOGRAMS in a matter of 3 months just because…after 4 years he decided she was to fat. She got so sick she had to hospitalized 3 times for malnutrition. Finally she broke up with him, or better she asked him what she was for him and he plainly told her that he wanted her just for sex (he has an official girlfriend apparently and several other women on rhe side, each day I hear something new about this guy). She said to him that it was over and for two months he left her alone. She was introduced to a guy who liked her and things were going good, -even if I thought it was too soon to start dating another guy , but who asked me- until he decided that he wanted to play again with her and sucked her again in his cycle of abuse. Now it’s even worse as he is exposing her, having night sex in the car in public for instance, to make sure the other guy hears about this and dumps her. I receive sightings of her all around the city (I have a friend that works police patrol and the poor girl tells me what she sees). We organized an intervention for her but she started crying and denying and explaining and stuff I just couldn’t go on. I realized that she needs more professional help than just friends talking to her.

    And to that first commenter NOP she had plenty of self esteem before meeting him, she is beautiful, tall, blond, educated, her family has money, she is well cared for by her parents as in they are financially helping her to have a lifestyle beyond her means just because they can. She turned 30 this year but she is a shell of her former self.

    Oh another friend told me that he has hit her several times “to teach her a lesson” and “to show her what kind of man she forces him to be”. The part that stayed with me is “I will beat you with a stick or belt because my hand are to precious, if I touch you I won’t resist you and I will have to f..k you and you don’t deserve that”. When I heard that from another friend, to whom she opened up once, I was eating a chocolate cake and I LOST MY DESIRE to eat it, which never happens no matter what. I really felt so so sad.

    • deets says:

      I’m so sorry your friends are going through this, and they are lucky to have someone who cares like you do. It can be absolutely heart breaking. Be safe yourself, first, please. Abusers often try to turn their victim against friends, and the mental toll of dealing with it can be exhausting. Be good to yourself, even if it’s because to help you need to be healthy. The absolute best thing you can do is let them know it’s not normal, but that you understand how complicated it is and you support them. If you push too hard, they will most likely cut you out. My friend married a doctor, after 4 years of dating, before leaving him for good. He was exactly as you described, charming, handsome, wealthy, educated. It’s very good cover for a wolf.

      Good luck and Godspeed.

  13. paddingtonjr says:

    Thank you Amy and Oprah for saying out loud what many people can’t: abusive relationships are rarely as simple as “he hit me, I left, I’m over him.” Relationships are complicated and, if you love someone, it can be hard to believe they would hurt you so you rationalize or take some (all) of the blame. There can also be great shame that “you let it happen.” It doesn’t matter how attractive/smart/accomplished/confident/big/small/male/female you are; everyone has a weakness and abusers are masters at exploiting them.