In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her show Super Soul Conversations that aired Wednesday night, Amy Schumer discussed being sexually assaulted by her boyfriend when she was a teenager. Though Schumer has mentioned the experience in the past—even in her standup—this is the first time she’s done so in detail.
Schumer says that she initially began telling the story about the assault—which she called “grape” or “gray area rape”—in her set to “make people laugh while they learned.”
“When we hear about rape when we’re children, and we’re being warned about it, it’s about a guy popping out from a bush...and some villain. They don’t say it’s probably gonna be a guy you know really well. It could be your husband. It could be your friend. And so you think, when that happens you, you say, ‘OK, 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.’ And for me, I lost my virginity while I was asleep. And that’s not OK. So, in my standup I would say, ‘If she’s asleep, that’s a no.’ Just hoping that a couple guys would see that and it would be met in that moment, like, ‘This is a no. I heard that somewhere.’
Of her sexual assault, Schumer goes on to say “The first thing he said was, ‘I thought you knew.’ I didn’t say anything yet, and he says, ‘I thought you knew.’”
“What’s interesting about that,” Oprah says, “is that you then were feeling bad for how he would feel the next day.”
“Yeah,” Schumer says, adding:
“I loved him, and I had to comfort him. I also felt really angry...It’s like a rage that has stayed with me. I don’t think you lose that. You know, as women we’re really trained not to get angry because that makes people dismiss you right away. There’s sort of no place for that anger. But I felt I wanted to comfort him because he felt so bad and he was so worried. And I just tried to push my anger down.”
Schumer says she and her boyfriend eventually started having consensual sex, but pointed out that it doesn’t negate the initial assault—nor should it give ammunition to people who call women liars. “With the statistics—I think it’s one in six women is sexually assaulted—well, those statistics don’t match up! If one in six of us is raped, and you’re doubting all of us...where are the numbers matching up here, you know?”
Oprah ultimately asks how she would define the incident in retrospect, and after thinking it out for a moment, Schumer says, “I personally feel like I lost my virginity through rape. I didn’t consent. We hadn’t discussed it. We weren’t there in our relationship. We weren’t at that moment. And we talked about things.”
“So it felt like deep betrayal,” Oprah adds in her most Oprah tone.
“Yeah,” Schumer says. “From someone I really trusted.”
You can watch their entire interview over on Oprah’s website.