Gloria Gaynor Spoke Out About Being Sexually Assaulted To Combat Victim-Blaming

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You may know Gloria Gaynor as the powerhouse behind songs like "I Will Survive." But before she was a chart-topping disco singer, she persevered through a tough childhood and adolescence.

On a recent episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? she described multiple instances of sexual abuse she experienced.

"I was first sexually molested by a neighbor who I thought was a friend when I was only five years old," she recalled. "Then again when I was 12 years old, by someone who was very close to me that I thought I could trust. Then again, when I was 18 years old by a friend of a friend."

If the fact that she overcame all that and went on to have such a successful career isn't inspiring enough, she also has a great reason for talking about these hardships — and writing about them in her book I Will Survive, which collects stories of people who have triumphed over adversity.

"I felt that as an entertainer I should disclose this part of my life to help people who’ve gone through it recognize that it’s not your fault," she said. Considering how rampant victim-blaming is, that's a super important message.

On a lighter (but somewhat related) note, she told the story behind her iconic song, People reports, recounting that her label didn't want it at first. "When we recorded it, I took it to the record company, they wouldn’t even listen to it," she said. So, she brought it to a club on her own since she believed in it so much. And obviously, she was on to something.

Hearing about her past gives the song a whole new meaning. She truly is a survivor.

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