DAME Esther Rantzen has claimed that her mum forced her to socialise with a creepy family friend who molested her as a child.
The ChildLine founder, 78, told how she was abused when she was just 15 by the man, who was “like an uncle to her”.
But her mum Katherine refused to accept she had been assaulted because she didn’t want to cause any problems in their family’s social circle.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Dame Esther said: “He was no blood relative. I can see him to this day. He used to call me bright eyes and he had one of those creepy smiles.
“He took me out to buy me a present and he found a way of getting me alone and he sexually abused me.
“Not the most serious assault, but still horrible.
“Then he told me not to tell anyone.”
Dame Esther told presenter Lauren Laverne that she confided in her mum.
“I told my lovely mum and she didn’t really believe me, so that was educational,” she said.
“Whether I blocked it or whether I chose to forget it, is that the same thing maybe?
‘MUM CARED ABOUT HER SOCIAL CIRCLE’
“My mum, like many parents, cared about the social circle she moved in, cared about not making problems, and in a way wanted me to carry on meeting him and I said, ‘Under no circumstance’.
“So I didn’t when I was 18. I did up to then.”
She said the traumatic memory gave her the determination to set up the children’s charity in 1986.
“It doesn’t compare to some of the stories I’ve heard on ChildLine, but it has given me a certain insight,” she previously said.
The broadcaster also told the programme the need for Childline – the counselling service which has helped nearly five million children – is as great today as ever.
Calls when it was first set up in 1986 were mainly about “horrible things people were doing to children, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying”, she said.
“Now so much of it is about unhappiness, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders. And bullying has changed and become cyber bullying that you can’t escape from.
“So I think the need is great as ever… I reckon that we are going to have to be there forever.”
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The broadcaster, who set up The Silver Line helpline for older people in 2013, also spoke about her marriage to Desmond Wilcox, who was wed to someone else when they began their relationship.
She said: “Our marriage lasted and we have three wonderful children so I don’t regret it. But I wish it had happened differently.”
Desert Island Discs is on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11.15am.
The ChildLine founder, 78, told how she was abused when she was just 15 by the man, who was ‘like an uncle to her’[/caption]