Jeannie Mai is bravely opening up about a scarring experience of sexual abuse from her childhood.
In a video posted to her YouTube channel, the The Real co-host, sitting alongside her mother, detailed a traumatic experience that happened when she was only 9. In the clip, she even revealed that Mama Mai's refusal to believe her led to them becoming estranged for more than 10 years.
She started out by explaining that her mother left her in the care of a family member, who went on to sexually abuse her, while she took on a second job.
"We needed to find a babysitter, so we called upon a family member," Mai said. "He came over every single day and stayed with me after school."
While Mai refrained from naming her abuser, she did specify that he was "16 or 17" at the time and was an "iconic person" in her life up until the point of the abuse. She said that her mother also considered him to be an upstanding teenager.
"I just remember one day this person sitting very close to me," she continued. "We were playing video games, and he started to touch my thigh. I was also just stunned because I had never been intimately touched like that so I couldn't tell if it was wrong. I just knew I was noticing it."
Jeannie added that, as time went on, his inappropriate touches intensified with him taking off her clothes, exposing himself to her and explaining to her how she should touch him. When she told her mom of his behavior, she was shocked to see that she did not have her back.
"I remember him pulling me into that shower and it was the first time I have seen a grown man and what he looked like," she said. "I remember him telling me to touch him in certain ways. This happened every day for a few weeks, and then it turned into months and I remember one year going by. I didn't say anything because I was afraid. 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.'"
Her mother attempted to explain why she turned a blind eye to her daughter's abuse.
"When I don't believe it, I just let it go," she said before explaining that what her daughter was telling her at the time did not match up with the character of the person she appointed to care for her. "I don't see anything bad about him."
Jeannie said that her mother's hurtful denial of her assault eventually led her to run away from home at 16.
Watch them both open up about the heartbreaking moment, below:
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)