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April 28, 2004

Nellie From "Little House..." On Being Sexually Abused As A Child

Remember Nellie Oleson, that nasty little rich blonde brat on "Little House On The Prairie?" She was played by Alison Arngrim, who recently displayed a great deal of courage on CNN's Larry King Live when she described the sexual abuse she had experienced as a six-year-old child. I'm glad she chose to talk about. The first portion of the interview seemed a bit iffy to me because of the way Larry King questioned her. He pressed her for morbid details of specific sexual abuses, despite her repeatedly stating she did not want to describe the abuse in detail. He had also wondered if she had felt guilty that she - to use his words - "came on to" her abuser. What the hell kind of a question is that? She was six-to-nine years old, for God's sake!! No six-year-old entices a pervert to have sex with her! I have neither seen nor heard the show so I don't know what kind of inflection he gave the statement. I hope he was much more sympathetic than the way he appears in the written transcript. I was glad to see that the discussion improved as the interview progressed.

Ms. Arngrim serves on the board of advisors for PROTECT, The National Association to Protect Children.

KING: What happened?

ARNGRIM: Well I was sexually molested as a child myself.

KING: What age?

ARNGRIM: It started around when I was six years old.

KING: By a family member.


KING: Not your parents.

ARNGRIM: Not my parents. And, like most parents in these situations, they really didn't see it coming. When I later told them in my 20s, they were actually quite stunned and I found in talking to other people who had the same exact thing happen that parents really just don't want to believe -- and in fact, they put two and two and two together, the whole thing could have been brought to a grinding halt. But people don't, and they don't see it coming, and a cousin or a brother or an uncle is molesting their child and they ignore the situation.

Read the whole thing. It's worth the time.

Posted on April 28, 2004 at 12:44 PM | Permalink


*sigh* This just further cements my opinion that Larry King is a talentless hack. Kudos to Ms. Arngrim for speaking out.

Posted by: Ab_Normal at Apr 28, 2004 6:11:47 PM

OK, I must have been in the dark, who knew Marie Osmond was abused?

Posted by: Moi ;) at Apr 28, 2004 8:44:24 PM

That's news to me too that Marie Osmond was abused.

And I agree with you, Ab_Normal. Ms. Arngrim held her own just fine in spite of King's questions. Whatever gave him the idea that a six year old girl "comes on to" men? Get real!

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 29, 2004 7:42:57 AM

A meaner person than I would point out that Mr. King seems to like to marry women younger than himself... but that would be crass.

Posted by: Ab_Normal at Apr 29, 2004 5:44:36 PM

Thank you so much for your kind words. I should tell you, old Larry King wasn't that mean to me. Although, I was at first somewhat taken aback by his intitial line of questioning. (I was at least given fair warning that he might ask some questions "that they already knew I didn't intend to answer" and was encouraged to answer or not in any way I saw fit.) In retrospect, it did give me the opportunity to show that people who have been molested or raped, have a right to tell their story in their own way and not be intimidated by foolish or tasteless questions.

But I couldn't recommend this experience to the "faint hearted" or very sensitive. It was quite the ordeal, but I believe the response over the last several days, to PROTECT, to me and to the legislators in Sacramento, is proving worth my while.

Keep up the good work,


Posted by: Alison Arngrim at May 2, 2004 10:07:05 PM

Thanks so much for writing on my blog, Ms. Arngrim. It's good to know that in the end it was worth your while, especially concerning the legislation you're trying to pass. It seemed to me that the first few minutes of the interview were awkward, but once you and Mr. King settled in, it became much better and very informative. Also, he didn't interrupt you when you were making some very salient points. That impressed me.

Feel free to pass on to me via e-mail any updates about PROTECT and the work you are doing. I'd be happy to post it on my blog. While most of my work revolves around women's issues and combating hate groups, many of my colleagues work on children's issues, including all forms of child abuse. They read my blog, too.

I hope you are well, and thank you again for writing.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at May 2, 2004 11:28:14 PM