Vanessa Williams, the actress and former Miss America, spoke candidly on Oprah Winfrey's Oprah's Master Class recently, and opened up about how being sexually molested at the age of 10 affected her as an adult.
According to Williams, the sexual abuse took place in the summer before she was set to enter fifth grade while she was staying with her friend's family's in California. While there, Williams was introduced to an 18-year-old girl who was also staying at the same house and who proved to be a sexual predator.
Even though Williams said she regarded the older girl as one of the "cool" girls she didn't expect her to do what she did to her. Williams shared that when that girl performed oral sex on her she knew it "wasn't supposed to be happening."
Williams said: "She was one of the cool girls. She made you want to feel like you were a grown-up."
One night when Williams was asleep with her friend, the older girl sneaked into the room and woke Williams up with the strange request to perform oral sex on her: She spoke about the effect that action had on her:
"Had that not happened in my life and had I had an opportunity to have a normal courtship with a boyfriend at 16 or whatever... there wouldn't have been that shame that was always haunting me. She told me to lie down on the floor. She took my bottoms off and she said, 'Be quiet,' She went down on me," she said.
Vanessa Williams said that that night with the older girl gave her a serious conflict as a child: "I had no idea what it was, but I knew it felt good, I knew it felt good, but was also something that was not supposed to be happening," said Williams.
After the incident Williams neglected to tell her parents what had happened due to the fact there had been a family tragedy, so she just kept quiet: "I saw my dad's face and his face was gray. And I just found out that his brother had died," she said.
Williams feels that the incident sexualized her at an age where she was too young, taking away her innocence and making "normal dating" hard for her as a teenager and adult.
She concluded by talking about how the sexual molestation at such a young age affected her: "Had that not happened in my life and had I had an opportunity to have a normal courtship with a boyfriend at 16 or whatever... there wouldn't have been that shame that was always haunting me. It made me more sexually promiscuous and more sexually curious at a younger age than I should have been," she said.