"I really want parents to understand the traumatic effect that domestic violence has on children," Morgan tells Oprah Winfrey

By Lanford Beard
Updated October 02, 2015 10:45 AM

Debbi Morgan is opening up about living under the threat of domestic violence for much of her life, and she hopes her honesty will help others escape abuse.

The former All My Children star sits down with Oprah Winfrey on Saturday’s Oprah: Where Are They Now? to discuss chilling experiences going as far back as her childhood.

In an exclusive clip from the episode, Morgan recounts the worst incident of violence her mother endured at the hands of Morgan’s father, who was ultimately removed from their lives.

Though Morgan’s mother had replaced the locks on the door of the family’s home, Morgan recalls, “My father came home that night, he gave the door one kick, the whole thing just came apart.”

During his brutal attack, Morgan’s father used a pole attached to the lock he’d just dislodged – the very thing her mother had hoped would provide safety – against her: “I can remember so vivid,” she says. “My mother, it was like she was trying to scream but it was like she could hardly get anything out. And he had the pole up against her neck and was choking her. You know, as a little girl, to see that was just so terrifying.”

Morgan, now 59, has written her memoir The Monkey on My Back to confront the abuse against both men and women that has cast a shadow over her family for generations – in fact, Morgan was previously married to three abusive men (though she has broken the cycle in her current marriage).

Morgan tells Winfrey she wrote the book because “I really want parents to understand the traumatic effect that domestic violence has on children.”

RELATED VIDEO: Meet the Real-Life Hero Who’s Using Pets to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

Oprah: Where Are They Now?

airs Saturdays (10 p.m. ET) on OWN.