Rape: The Oprah Gail Winfrey Case

Published 17 Feb 2017

The History of the Issue/Situation

The farm with the sweet morning scent of grass was a spectacular experience that one could enjoy in the land of Mississippi. In this place everything seems so simple, very accommodating and peaceful. Despite these facts, it is a place that gave her the definition of loneliness, helplessness along with the experience of losing her identity, her individuality and her life. Her name had been on the televisions of about one hundred thirsty six countries world wide. It had received more than thirty Emmy awards for about two decades. It was the most successful talk show to date. It was a name tantamount to courage, empowerment and passion. This name was the highest paid entertainer on American television. She is Oprah Gail Winfrey.

On her toddler years, she was living at Mississippi with her grandmother. At this early age, she had been able to connect with other people and was really very comfortable performing or talking in front of them, telling her stories and asking them questions. At six, she lived with her mother at Wisconsin or to her father at Tennessee When she was about nine to fourteen, she had stayed with her mother at Wisconsin. These years have made her experience the struggles associated with poverty and lack of parental attention. During these years was the start of the abuse that had change her whole life and her perspective. She was molested by her nineteen years old cousin and was impregnated at the age of thirteen. At fourteen it was said that she had a premature baby that later dies.

As far as the story was known, Oprah had been able to gain back her lost self, through her passion for others. She made it through college and had been a reporter at the age of nineteen. Later on, she co-anchored on a TV People are talking. When she moved to Chicago, she was given a chance to host a thirty minute talk show that had top as number one in a matter of one month after its first airing. The talk show was extended into one hour and was renamed to “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.

Oprah is one of the most famous and powerful personalities of our days, having been widely renown and helping out, inspiring different people all around the world to have the same courage and will power that she posses, to look for the truth and stay happy and enjoy a healthy living. Through her show, she had imparted something of her and something from her guest to world, a certain experience and/or lesson that the world is eager to know.
She basically, in support of empowerment, not just of women or children, but of the whole family, in able for them to live a peaceful and satisfied life. One can find this theme in her show, wherein there are several topics on issues concerning empowerment and different ways in able for someone to achieve better living. She also features must read books and articles that promotes the well-being of a person. Many of the stories that were featured in her shows are inspirational, either in psychological or emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of life. She also supports education, since according to her, it is the first step in fulfilling one’s dream.

As a reflection of her efforts and her goals, she had been able to make the first move in making the National Child Protection Act. She campaigns for a “national database for convicted child abusers”. The act was signed by President Bill Clinton on 1993. It was then called the “Oprah bill” since she was the major “force” that advocates and promotes the bill from drafting unto its passage. The act tends to screen out dangerous people, specifically child abusers, from being hired on children-related jobs or work, in able to secure the child’s safety.

Oprah was also a “philanthropist” who supports education by giving funds and helping on establishing schools not only in parts of America but also in other parts of the world, such as in Africa. Aside from this, she also helps to protect women by supporting and campaigning against abuses on women and discrimination.(Time, 1998)

Aside from being the first African-American to ever own a production company, she was also the first to become a billionaire. This had not only earned her fame but also respect for women, especially for “African Americans”. Women have been very inspired not only through her achievements but also with the fact that women can compete globally with men. She had made it clear that women have a place in this world that women can talk along with men and that women have rights not be abuse in any matter.

Through her, we have been able to realize that black women can be as good as white women, bridging the demarcation line that was made by the past generations. Eliminating racism and oppression of women by men and other women as well and helping to eradicate child abusers in the society was enough actions for her to be recognize as one of the most influential people of our generation.

The Sociological Significance of the Issue/Situation

Changes in the political, societal and spiritual aspects of life in a certain community that had affected not only the lives of a few television fanatics, but of the whole country along with uplifting the pride of women especially by eliminating certain notions and discriminations on women specifically colored ones and by promoting child’s rights and protection against different forms of abuses, is enough to say that indeed Oprah Gail Winfrey has a social significance. Her influence and her philosophy had not just affected the minds of millions of people but have been formalized by her pursuing actions and had been attested as a part of the law.

As I have presented above, the Oprah Winfrey Show, along with the actions and visions of Oprah herself have affected the societal norms in our current society. Basically, she represents a clear depiction of an empowered woman, who can manipulate or affect the minds of millions, some of whom were socially renowned individuals. Her empowerment had brought many other inspired individuals to penetrate a man-centered realm and to have their voices heard as well. Through her actions, women have a better disposition, politically, economically and socially. Children are even more protected against abuses and some were presented with a better future. Her foundation, Oprah’s Angel Network, had dedicated one hundred thousand dollars, every Monday, for those persons who have used their lives in able to “improve the lives of others”. (Adler, Bill, 1997)

The mode of production which is capitalism has been an arena that was clear to be dominated by men. As a woman who came from poverty and who have experience sexual abuses, dominating or being part of this economic paradigm is something that proves that women are not just for household chores. Women had received a key role in a society that was governed mainly by man. And for a woman to be as influential or to be more powerful than some prominent male figures is, “one step of a single woman and a giant leap for the rest of them”.

Women now have the power to be among men, to join them, to voice out their opinions. African-American women, in particular, had been able to face the world with more dignity and pride than years before. Oprah’s fame and dominance is a phenomena, that have awaken the hearts and minds of women to fight for their rights, for the abused to seek for help and protection and for the helpless to strive for their dream and live a better life.
Oprah had been able to break away from her past and to live a normal and a more than satisfying life. It is an achievement that she not only would like to share but a success that she wants everyone to have. Regaining one’s individuality and facing one’s inner fears, is something that would not only let you become a better person but would also help you lived a peaceful and goal-oriented life.

The issue have presented us with anew kind of women, those who have enough courage to face a world and to embrace the totality of herself in able to transparently present the world with a kind of person not only worth of praise, not only inspirational, but a person who can achieve or fulfill her dreams, a person who can actualize her goals. The concept of sexuality has been more open to debates and discussions.

Normally, those persons who have so many problems in their lives have spent their days locked in their room mourning or crying over the things that can’t be changed. Most of us dreams big but lack the courage to step up and make a change. Most of our failures remained lessons unlearned. Women usually shy away from opportunities or feared to face challenges or to express themselves in presence of male dominance. Some women believes that they were lesser beings compared to men, that they were naturally “a lower breed of humanity” or that they should naturally be subjected or dominated by men. Most colored people are rendered to be inferior to the white race, most were discriminated some our even despised or banned in other countries. Abused children were oppressed to speak or talk about the experience because it was so painful or shameful or it is so hard to get someone to believe. Oprah was not like this, and for all her endeavors, for the impact that her presence she has, for her inspiring actions and lasting devotion, I would like to acknowledge her along with all of her efforts, as one of the few personalities that have created a difference, that have created a change, that have stand and fight not just for her right as a woman and as a child but for the rights of those who have experienced being sexually abused.


  • Adler, Bill, editors. (1997).The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey: A Portrait in Her Own Words. New York: Birch Lane Press.
  • D’Emilio, J., Freedman, E. (1998). .Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. Harper & Row
  • Oprah.com. (2007). Oprah Winfreys Biography. Retrieved on August 3, 2007.
  • Phillips, K. (2001). Sexualities in History: A Reader. Routledge.
  • Time Magazine. October 5, 1998. The Beloved Oprah. Time Inc.

In consideration of the research of Horney and Cassia, the initial analysis of individual localities would make up the entire study. It will not be presented in an over-all representation of the subject matter. In short, the usage of the six jurisdictions may be disposed off; instead, rape shield laws will be taken in a particularized setting.

The reason for such is the fact that each locality possesses a unique personality, so to speak. The inhabitants of a certain area have a quality that is entirely peculiar to them. Though the said study of Horney and Spohn takes rape law development in same way, they should not have resorted in the comparison on the changes that this have brought about. After all, different people have different ways and methods of coping with such transformations in policies. No two localities would demonstrate the same level and amount of reaction.

As there would be those who would argue that the changes brought about by the rape shield law is exclusive to a certain place, therefore, the transformation that it may bring about is in the same manner individual. Nevertheless, the fact remains that these six jurisdictions adhered to six different types of rape law advancement are sufficient enough to indicate that a generalization cannot be had. It would be excessively obvious to point out that this would undoubtedly reap six different results. To be brief, six different localities with varying laws concerning rape will trigger six diverse outcomes. There would be no point of comparison other than the idea that they all underwent a modification in their penal system with regards to rape law.

What the researchers could have done was to present the situations in an individualized manner and not have to resort to a simplification of the over-all subject matter. The research could have been made in a manner where each review would stand on its own. This is explained through the idea that completely divergent ideas cannot be made to merge with the rest in order to form a unified thought as these ideas would have absolutely no common ground.

The development of rape shield law could have been better understood if a systematic way of delineating the issues was present where the different way by which the localities cope with the changes were illustrated.

To sum it all up, the development of the Rape Shield Law could have been better reviewed if the research utilized a longitudinal analysis where the actual growth of the statute relating to such subject matter was endeavored. A comparative analysis need not have been resorted to as a study relating to societal behavior and culture can never be had as this area is vague and fleeting. No accurate mechanism or standard may be used to represent the entirety of diverse human beings that is abundant in the United States.

As much as a anyone may want to look into the actual development of the said law, it cannot be done in a totalitarian manner. This is true as far as there are different localities adhering to a variety of laws that is peculiar to them. A generalization of disparate thoughts cannot result into a singular behavioral pattern as the individuals that comprise a certain locality is just as divergent and unique.

As much as the research by Horney and Spohn is a good indicator of the popular clamor to have a more responsive penal system, an effective statute cannot be pushed forth without exact and clear-cut determinants to act as yardsticks In this regard, culture is of no use.

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