Oprah Winfrey was too ''scared'' to open up about her experience with sexual harassment before a young girl encouraged her to share her story.

The 64-year-old media mogul alleged on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' in 1986 that she had been molested by her cousin, an uncle and a family friend when she was a young girl, but she now admits she only had the confidence to speak out after hearing a similar story from another child some years previous.

She said: ''The moment I first confessed on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' to being molested, I confessed because there had been a time years before when a girl on the 'People Are Talking' show I did in Baltimore had told the story of being molested, and I did not have the courage at that time to say out loud, 'Me too'.''

Oprah revealed she told the girl her own story in private once the cameras were off, and when the youngster asked why she hadn't told anyone, Oprah said: ''[Because I] was scared to say that.''

However, the 'A Wrinkle In Time' star was so inspired by the young girl, that when the topic came up again years later, she had the confidence to speak out.

She added: ''And then one day on the show someone said it, so I felt compelled to speak up.''

Oprah's alleged molestation occurred between the ages of nine and 14, and the star believes it is difficult for children to explain what has happened to them as their abuser will often make them feel ''complicit''.

She said: ''It happened to me at 9, and then 10, and then 11, and then 12, 13, 14. You don't have the language to begin to explain what's happening to you. That's why you feel you're not going to be believed. And if the abuser, the molester, is any good, they will make you feel that you are complicit, that you were part of it. That's what keeps you from telling.''

The star also claimed she was bullied by her former boss whilst working at a TV station in Baltimore, and slammed the ''brutish'' treatment of women in the workplace.

Speaking to People magazine, she said: ''Women all over the country have been in situations with domineering, brutish men and had to remain silent about it to keep food on the table. I had a boss who was just a brute.

''This was at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. I knew that saying anything at the time would have taken me out of television forever. That nothing would have been done about it. I wasn't going to be there forever, so I said nothing. Every time he would pass my desk, I would turn around and try to disappear.''