ET's Jennifer Peros caught up with the 58-year-old singer on the red carpet at Billboard's Women in Music event on Friday, where she opened up about being honored as the magazine's Woman of the Year, and her amazing Carpool Karaoke segment with James Corden.
"Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blank misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse," Madonna said, before opening up about moving to New York in 1979 to start her career.
"In the first year, I was held up at gunpoint, raped on a rooftop with a knife digging into my throat, and I had my apartment broken into so many times, I just stopped locking the door," she shared. "In the years to follow, I lost almost every friend I had to AIDS or drugs or gunshot. As you can imagine, all of these unexpected events not only helped me become the daring woman that stands before you but it also reminded me that I am vulnerable and in life, there is no real safety except self-belief and an understanding that I am not the owner of my talents."
"What I would like to say to all of the women here today is this: women have been so suppressed for so long, they believe what men have to say about them and they believe they have to back their man to get the job done," the singer continued. "As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth, seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to be inspired by, to collaborate with, to support, to be enlightened by."
"It's not so much about receiving this award, as it is having this opportunity to stand before you and really say thank you as a woman, as an artist, as a human," Madonna said. "Not only to the people who have loved and supported me along the way, some of you are sitting in front of me right now -- you have no idea. You have no idea how much your support means -- but to the doubters, the naysayers, to everyone who gave me hell, and said, I could not, that I would not, that I must not. Your resistance made me stronger, made me push harder, made me the fighter that I am today, made me the woman that I am today, so thank you."
Billboard Women in Music 2016 airs Monday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on Lifetime.