Oprah Winfrey ’shaken to the core’ by school sex abuse scandalNovember 14th, 2007 - 8:34 am ICT by admin
“This has been one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating, experiences of my life. A horrible situation has been uncovered and rooted out. This is what leadership is all about-so that abuse will end and truth will prevail,” E! Online quoted her, as saying.
“I was, needless to say, devastated and shaken to the core,” she added.
Oprah insisted that though her students had been living in an environment that “repressed their voices,” the experience has motivated the girls to “break the silence and to take their voices back.”
“As often is the case, child abuse, sexual abuse, happens right within … the confines of the people you know. I personally spoke to all the girls and encouraged them to come forward over the sex abuse claims. The girls are receiving counselling. I told the girls that we are going to clean out the school. There is still a lot of potential there,” she said.
Winfrey’s remarks came just hours after former dorm matron, 27-year-old Virginia Makopo, was released on bail on Nov 5. She pleaded not guilty to 13 charges including indecent assault; assault and criminal injury committed against at least six students aged 13-15 and a 23-year-old at the school.
Last week, Winfrey flew to South Africa to offer a tearful plea to pupils and their parents to forgive her. During the press conference, she acknowledged that the screening of employees had been inadequate.
“We are going to redefine what that position should mean and what the qualifications should be for the future. No one is ever happy when a scandal like this happens, but I am glad it happened now and not two years from now. It gives us the opportunity to completely course-correct,” she said.
However, she added that she is moving to create a safe, open and receptive environment for the girls.
“What I know is no one, not the accused nor any persons, can destroy the dream I have held or that the girls have at this school. No matter what adversity these girls have endured in their short life-and let me assure you, they have endured a lot-their light and courage will not diminish,” she said.
She also vowed to ‘clean house’ and said she would not be renewing the contract of the school’s headmistress. (ANI)
- Winfrey 'disappointed' as ex-matron cleared of sexual abuse charges - Oct 12, 2010
- Oprah Disappointed At Acquittal of Former School Matron - Oct 12, 2010
- Oprah Winfrey disappointed over acquittal of a women who was accused of abusing children - Oct 13, 2010
- Oprah Settles defamation suit outside court - Mar 25, 2010
- Newborn's body found in Oprah Winfrey's school - Feb 20, 2011
- Former matron of Winfrey's school cleared of sexual abuse charges - Oct 12, 2010
- Oprah Winfrey plans to be a high school teacher - Jul 07, 2011
- Oprah reveals family secret: A secret half sister who was put up for adoption at birth - Jan 25, 2011
- Former matron denies child abuse at Oprah Winfrey''s school - Jul 30, 2008
- Shania Twain releases her memoir - May 04, 2011
- Winfrey to teach school students - Jul 07, 2011
- Oprah Winfrey Reveals She Has A Half-Sister On Her Show - Jan 25, 2011
- Winfrey not to shut down her girls' school in South Africa - Jul 03, 2009
- Oprah connects to Jaipur with salwar-kameez, social message (With Image) - Jan 22, 2012
- Oprah's warmth bowls over B-town celebs - Jan 17, 2012
Tags: break the silence, child abuse, criminal injury, devastated, girls, horrible situation, i am glad, indecent assault, matron, nov 5, old virginia, oprah winfrey, scandal, school sex, sex abuse, sexual abuse, tearful plea, truth will prevail, videoconference, voices