Ellen explains that just after Betty married this man, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had one of her breasts removed. Ellen says her mom's then-husband used this information to sexually assault her on several different occasions.
"He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine," she tells Letterman. "...He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time."
Ellen goes into even more detail about the alleged incident, recalling how her stepfather tried to break down her bedroom door and she fled out her window because she knew "it was going to go more to something."
"I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t -- I was too weak to stand up to -- I was 15 or 16," Ellen admits. "It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that."
The 61-year-old TV personality says she didn't tell her mother about what her stepfather had done until a few years later, but her mom did not believe her. Betty stayed married to the man for 18 more years, and Ellen says she finally left him after he kept changing his story.
As for how her relationship is with her mother -- who has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on multiple occasions -- now, she confesses, "I always have taken care of her my whole life. So I just kept taking care of her. I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, 'I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.' And she’s apologetic, but, you know…"
Ellen hopes her story helps other victims of sexual assault come forward. "We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no," she says. "That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are. When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much."
Ellen further proclaims, "It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power."
For more with Ellen, including her talking about dating guys in high school, coming out as gay and her marriage, check out My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman when season two premieres on Netflix on Friday.