If Madonna Can't Report a Rape, Who Can?

Madonna Howard SternMadonna's recent interview with Howard Stern is already being hailed as one of the best interviews of a celebrity ever, which is no surprise given Madonna's colorful history combined with Stern's uncanny ability to get celebs to answer questions they never would with anyone else. Madonna touched on subjects ranging from her dating life -- which was even more varied than we knew (Tupac Shakur?!) -- to her mom's death. But probably the most shocking moment of the interview came when she discussed the rape she suffered when she was a 19-year-old who had just moved to New York City to make it in the music industry.


Madonna has spoken on the subject of her rape in the past, but not much. And given how little she has ever talked about it, you tend to forget that she ever experienced such a horror.

But Howard got her to open up about this trauma in a way I don't think many people could have. For one, Stern never seems to judge anyone. We all know that Howard is as flawed as they come, so I think stars feel comfortable talking to him about their own darkest moments.

Madonna told him that at the time the rape happened, she had just moved to the city, and was still a naive "dork" who would say "hi" to strangers on the street.

She recalls how she needed to make a phone call and the man in question convinced her to use his phone (this was before cell phones). She said he was a "very friendly guy," so she trusted him and went to his apartment, where he raped her at knifepoint.

Asked if she reported it, Madonna said:

You've already been violated. It's just not worth it. It's too much humiliation.

It's jarring to think of Madonna, who we normally don't associate with not speaking up or standing up for herself, as being so humiliated that she didn't want to report a rape.

If Madonna -- so strong, so outspoken, so brave -- found it impossible to bring her story of rape to the police, then you can only imagine what "average" women go through.

Let's remember she was only 19 at the time -- she didn't know anyone in the city, and this was also a time of high crime. She probably sensed that cops wouldn't exactly prioritize her case. And who would believe her, once she told them she willingly went to the man's apartment? Additionally, Madonna was making a living as a nude model -- would that be held against her?

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Somehow it is strangely comforting to know that even someone as brash and ballsy as Madonna would find herself too intimidated to report her rape -- because I think that helps all of those other women (such as the women allegedly raped by Bill Cosby) not feel so alone.

It happens. You make your decisions as you can with the tools you have at the time. Madonna clearly felt she didn't have the tools she needed at the time. Many women do not, and hopefully they can forgive themselves. And we need to be empathetic to them -- rape victims have already been through enough. They don't need the guilt of not reporting a rape on top of it.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Do you understand why she may not have reported it?

If you have suffered a sexual assault of any kind and wish to talk to someone about it, please call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).

Image via Howard Stern Show/Facebook

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