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Amy Schumer Opens Up About Past Partner Abuse: “There Is No ‘Kind’ of Woman. It Happens to All Women.”

Content warning: partner abuse, emotional abuse, rape.

In a recent episode of SuperSoul Conversations, Amy Schumer spoke with Oprah and opened up about the abuse she experienced in a past relationship. In the interview, Oprah mentions that she’s interviewed many women who have suffered partner abuse and that she has herself as well.

“I got hurt by accident a lot,” Schumer says, though her tone puts some clear quotes around the word accident. “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. It would be like, well he didn’t mean for me to hit that thing, he just thought he was pushing me.” She laughs a little towards the end there, ostensibly at how twisted that justification sounds once you’re out of that situation.

But both Schumer and Winfrey talk about the “out of body” experience of being in that situation.

“I can picture being thrown on the hood of a car like it was an hour ago,” Schumer says. “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? Why am I in this woman’s body who’s running from her boyfriend. This can’t be me.’”

Both women say that they had very distinct lines drawn between their own situations and what they pictured to be an “abused woman.” And those images, that notion that a woman suffering from abuse looks a certain way, feeds the sort of denial that works to keep women in these relationships. Schumer says she would tell herself, “I’m not that kind of woman, and then you realize there is no kind of woman. It happens to all women.”

Schumer also talked about losing her virginity by rape. She’s brought this up in her standup before, and she explained to Oprah the reasoning behind turning that experience into jokes. In that standup, she called what happened to her “grape” or “gray area rape,” despite the fact that it was just straight-up rape. But she says her hope was to subtly influence the men (or anyone) in her audience who still thinks of rape as only being defined as a violent attack by a stranger.

In reality, rape much more often looks like what happened to Schumer, at the hands of someone the victim knows well. In this case, Schumer woke up to find her boyfriend, whom she says she loved, penetrating her without consent. So she may have turned that into a joke, but by telling her audience, “If she’s asleep, that’s a no,” she says she hopes that “joke” actually sinks in as truth.

In both cases–the rape and the abusive relationship–Schumer describes feeling the need to comfort those men afterward, that they felt so bad for what they had done to her, she pushed her anger down and made sure they were okay. Because physical abuse in relationships rarely comes without intense emotional abuse as well. It’s powerful to hear two prominent, influential women discuss these things.

(via People, image: YouTube)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.