“The Real” co-host Jeannie Mai recently revealed that she was sexually abused by a male cousin when she was just 9-years-old and her mother refused to believe her.
In a new episode of her YouTube series “Hello Hunnay,” Mai details her journey of sexual abuse be her 16-year-old cousin which led to her fleeining home and separating ties with her mother Olivia for eight years.
“I just remember one day this person sitting very close to me, we were playing video games, and he started to touch my thigh.” Jeannie also admits the abuse lasted for years. He would take off her clothes, expose himself to her and force her to touch him.
Like many households, sexual abuse is swept under the rug. When Jeannie approached her mother Olivia Mai about the abuse her mother who is Vietnamese said she was confused and didn’t see anything bad about him.
“I began to get angry because now I’m telling my mom that he’s taking off my clothes, and you said, ‘I don’t believe you,’” Mai explains. “In that moment, I was about 15. I remember distinctly those words, ‘I don’t believe you. He wouldn’t do that. That’s your cousin. This is in your head.’ I felt by myself. I even got to a point where I started to ask myself, ‘Did I imagine these things?’”
Mai decided to leave home and didn’t speak to her mother for almost a decade. After missing years together, they reconciled and her mom finally believed her story.
During the shocking video, Jeannie asks her mom, “Did you love him more than you loved your daughter who was trying to tell you something?”
She answers,”I loved him more than I love you because at that time I think he has no parents, you have mother and father…but him he had nobody.”
Jeannie cries during the conversation with her mom who was visibly embarrassed with her own actions calling herself stupid.
“I want to come over to his house and punch him and I want to put him in jail,” Olivia said, adding, “I’m really sorry. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I loved that boy.”
Jeannie’s mom admits to not being able to sleep and going to confront the abuser who wanted to purchase Jeannie a gift to apologize.
“I wish you told me that you went to his house. You never told me,” Mai told her mom through tears. “That right there is all I needed to know. That you believed me and you listened and that you would go and try and do something about it. I just needed your support. I feel like you just set something free inside of me because you believed me.”
Anyone affected by sexual assault or abuse, whether it happened to you or someone you care about, can find support from online.rainn.org. You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to speak to someone who is trained to help.
Check out the video below.