In a career that’s spanned three decades, comedian Margaret Cho has not been one to hold back. She’s openly — and hilariously — discussed her drug abuse, her sex life and her colonic irrigation, among many other topics probably not considered safe-for-work.
But, in a recent interview with Danielle Bacher of Billboard magazine, Cho, 46, dropped a bombshell: She told the magazine that she was sexually molested by a family friend from age five to 12.
“I had a very long-term relationship with this abuser, which is a horrible thing to say,” she told Bacher. “I didn’t even understand it was abuse, because I was too young to know,” she says. “I endured it so many times, especially because I was alone a lot.”
At 14, Cho said, she was raped by an acquaintance.
“I was raped continuously through my teenage years, and I didn’t know how to stop it,” she said. “It was also an era where young girls were being sexualized. For me, I think I had been sexually abused so much in my life that it was hard for me to let go of anger, forgive or understand what happened.”
Though Cho did not identify the rapists in the interview, she said her family knows who abused her. Bacher wrote Cho described molestation as “an excusable offense in her traditional Korean family’s eyes, which [Cho] thinks is insane.”
“They don’t really want to talk about it, because that would make it real somehow,” Cho said. “I think Asian culture often is in denial about such things. Like, if they don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.”
This is not the first time that Cho has discussed her troubled past. As part of a Twitter campaign last year after revelations that Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi had allegedly assaulted three women, Cho discussed her story.
“I am a rape victim and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse,” Cho wrote at the time. “I come forward in solidarity with all women who have suffered.”
Cho also addresses her history of sexual assault in a track on a new record. The title of the song makes its theme pretty clear: “I Want To Kill My Rapist.”
“I thought I forgave you, but I’d mistake you,” Cho sings on the track, as Billboard recounted. “… I see clearly and sincerely, you’ll pay dearly.”
“I’m still trying to figure out how to be a musician, but I really enjoy it,” Cho told Bacher. “But really, we want to kill the rapists.”
Correction: A previous version of this article said Cho alleged she was raped by a “family member.” She alleges she was raped by a family friend.
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