CNN's Lemon gets emotional discussing experience with sexual assault

CNN anchor Don Lemon on Monday addressed the sexual misconduct accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by telling his personal story of how victims struggle to come forward and do not always know when they are going to reveal to others the trauma they experienced.

Following a vacation, the CNN host returned to address the Kavanaugh story and discussed his own issues with reporting sexual assault.


Lemon then showed a 2010 clip of when he publicly revealed he had been a victim of sexual assault as a child.

"Tonight I feel compelled to share with you something that is very personal to me," Lemon said on Monday. "There is no standard way survivors talk about sexual assault. It isn't always a police phone call and a rape indicate or a report filed with [human resources]. Sometimes they don't talk at all. For years, even decades."

"Sometimes a little comes out in a conversation with a friend, partner, or a doctor. And sometimes it comes out all at once," he continued. "Why is it so hard to talk about? Well, part of it is fear. And part of it is doubt. Will I be believed? Will I be blamed? Will I have evidence? Do I have to relive what happened? Will everyone judge me? And if I speak out will it even matter?"

The host then played clips from 2010 where he revealed his assault to panelists and discussed the stigma around telling people he was a victim.

"Let me tell you what got my attention about this," he says in the clip. "I've never admitted this on television. I am a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid, someone who was much older than me. And those are the things that they do. The language. This doesn't make you gay if you do this ... I have never admitted that on television. I didn't tell my mom that until I was 30 years old."

An emotional Lemon, 52, came back after the clip and said he had not watched that video since it happened and mentioned he did discuss the experience of being assaulted in his book, "Transparent" which was released in 2011.

The "CNN Tonight" anchor ended his monologue asking if "truth" was being pursued in the Kavanaugh story or if it was a "political game being played with people's lives."

"I've been thinking about why these women are coming forward to tell the whole country what they say happened. Knowing that they will be judged. And Judge Kavanaugh will be judged. And someone will be believed and someone won't. My last question, please, I want you to really think about this as we consider their accounts and the judge's denials for the sake of everyone involved. Are we interested in truth? Are we interested in healing? Or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people's lives?"

Kavanaugh and Ford are both scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday in what promises to be arguably the biggest news day of the year.

That same day, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE is expected to meet with deputy attorney general Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinKlobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Barr dismisses contempt vote as part of 'political circus' MORE in what may decide his fate at the Department of Justice following a bombshell New York Times report that alleged Rosenstein offered to wear a wire in an attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment to prompt the president's removal from office.