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.”
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.
Photos credit: WENN, screenshot from OWN