Tag Archives: Mary J. Blige

Famous Survivors of Rape: Part 2

18 Aug

This is a continuation of the 4-part series that began on Monday. Click the link if you would like read about Ashley Judd, Billie Holiday, Connie Francis, Fiona Apple, and Fran Drescher. Sorry for the delay, everyone! It’s been a busy week for me, but I appreciate you hanging in there :).


Here are 5 more famous rape survivors you may (or may not!) already know about:

Joyce Meyer

Joyce MeyerThe 68-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri is a world famous Christian author and speaker. Her televangelist program Enjoying Everyday Life is shown and heard in 200 countries around the world, and she has written more than 90 books on self-help and Christian life improvement topics. Before her ministry began, as a young girl Joyce was raped continually by her father (more than 200 times!), and grew up believing that she would never amount to anything. She’s said in interviews:

“Because I was raised in an abusive environment, I married the first guy that came along out of fear. I was afraid that no one would want me and I would end up alone. Fear makes you desperate and I know many women marry the wrong guy out of fear. He left me to go and stay with another woman and I was pregnant at the time. He was claiming that the baby wasn’t his. I left the marriage and the girl who did my hair took me in because I had nowhere to stay and I couldn’t go to work anymore. All these things happened to me – but I am still here.”

Kelly McGillis

Kelly McGillisRemember the pretty leading lady from the 1986 Tom Cruise movie Top Gun? Well, today she’s 54 and no longer acting, but happily married to her lesbian partner of more than 10 years. However, Kelly made headlines as one of the first actresses in Hollywood ever to go public with her story of rape. Before she landed her role in Top Gun, Kelly was studying drama at Juilliard School in Manhattan when, one day, her apartment was broken into by 2 teenaged boys. She and her then girlfriend were gagged and bound, beaten and raped, and Kelly was interviewed as saying that she long believed God had punished her for secretly being a lesbian. One of her attackers, a 15-year-old boy named Leroy Johnson, was caught and sent to jail for 3 years after confessing to the rape. She went on to play a rape advocate in the movie The Accuser.


Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips 51-year-old Mackenzie is best known for acting in the movie American Graffiti, the TV sitcom One Day at a Time, and for being the daughter of John Phillips, a singer behind The Mamas & the Papas. She shocked her fans in 2009 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey when she accused her father of introducing her to (and encouraging) a drug habit, and beginning to rape Mackenzie from the age of 19. Mackenzie told her family members, but only her half-sister, singer Chynna Phillips, believed her claim. Mackenzie has been denounced by the rest of her family, even though Jessica Woods, the daughter of Denny Doherty (another singer from The Mamas & the Papas) publicly stated that her father knew about the incest.

Marilyn van Derbur Atler

Marilyn van Derbur AtlerShe won the title of the 1958 Miss America pageant. Today the 74-year-old beauty is an author and founder of the American Coalition for Abuse Awareness, as well as One Voice. As a youth, Marilyn was raped repeatedly by her father, the millionaire socialite Francis S. van Derbur, but suppressed the pain of her assaults until she was 24. She spoke of suffering from anxiety, physical paralysis, and depression throughout her life in an interview with People magazine, and described facing her father with the truth:

“After seeing a psychiatrist, I decided I had to talk to my father. When I went to him at his house, I started by saying that it was the most difficult thing I had ever done. He said, ‘Just a minute,’ and climbed the winding staircase, two steps at a time to the second floor. I didn’t hear a toilet flush or a phone call being made, and when he came back, I knew instinctively that he had a gun. He had always kept them around the house. I talked for almost 20 minutes, and my father didn’t deny anything. He said, ‘If I had known what this would do to you, I never would have done it.’ I didn’t believe it then, and I don’t believe it now. After our conversation, he pulled out the gun. He said, ‘If you had come in any other way [which I took to mean public exposure], I would have killed myself.’ I believe if he had used the gun, he would have killed us both. From that day on, we never spoke of it again. The month before he died, he knew my life was beginning to shut down, but he never reached out to help me.”

Today she describes surviving incest as “the greatest accomplishment of my life”.

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. BligeThe 40-year-old ‘queen of R&B’ has recorded 8 albums (all certified multi-platinum), as well as ranked on Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 list of the greatest singers of all time, and she is the only recording artist ever to have won a Grammy each in Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B. She revealed during an interview with VH1’s Behind the Music that she was raped as a 5-year-old girl by a family friend, saying:

“I remember feeling, literally right before it happened, I just could not believe that this person was going to do this to me. That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault – it led me to believe I wasn’t worth anything. I ended up becoming my environment. It was bigger than me. I had no self-respect. I hated myself. I thought I was ugly. Alcohol, sex, drugs – I’d do whatever it took to feel better.”

But Mary J. is happily married as of 2003, and on top of her career success she is the co-founder of The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc.


The series continues tomorrow, with a poet and talk show host to add to the inspiration list. Come back and take a look!