Meredith Vieira has had a lot of jobs and she is always working hard to relate to her guests. But as she reported on the NFL domestic violence controversy, no one seemed to know how personal the topic was to her.
“Every nine seconds, a woman is abused or assaulted in this country,” Vieira will say on Wednesday’s show (which was filmed Tuesday), according to People. “Every nine seconds this is going on.
“This Twitter trend that’s happening now — #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. It’s a campaign of confessions of women who have experienced domestic violence, and what you realize when you read these tweets is that it’s a very, very complicated issue.”
But Vieira goes further and reveals that she understands the trending topic, more than anyone knew.
“I was in an abusive relationship many, many years ago as a young woman,” she explained. “I want to explain to you why I stayed.
“It started out, I loved this guy. It started out, we’d have a fight and he’d just sort of grab my arm. I didn’t think a lot about it, and then it turned into pushing me into a wall and then it went beyond that, to [his] actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying, ‘I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would watch you.'”
Vieira wanted the audience to know that it can happen to anyone, explaining that, “I’m a smart woman,” and that she was upset during the Ray Rice controversy that people kept asking why Janay Rice stayed.
She said she heard “a lot of people say, ‘Well, who would stay in that situation?’ Somebody who doesn’t have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out. [But] I had that. I had a job at the time, and I kept in this relationship.”
Vieira explained that she has had years to ask herself why she stayed and, in the end, it was because she was afraid of him. Because “I was scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me.”
The talk show host went on to explain further about her abuse and what kept her there. You can watch the full interview on her show when it airs on Wednesday, Sept. 17. But she wanted to end the segment by hoping to inspire change.
“If you are going through this, get yourself to a shelter, by all means tell somebody what’s going on, let somebody know. That’s just my experience with it, and I know it’s rampant in this country, and we all have to accept the fact that it’s not just an issue with the NFL — it’s an issue with all of our lives, and until we take it seriously, more and more women are going to get abused.”