Nadia Sawalha has revealed she was sexually assaulted when she was just 10 years old.
The Loose Women star, 56, emotionally detailed when a man ‘followed’ her off a bus, ‘pushed her against a bench’ and ‘put his hand up her skirt’ – an ordeal which has still left her scared to go out ‘in broad daylight’.
Presenter Nadia – who admitted she was a ‘target every time I went out’ – reflected on the experience on her How To Stay Married (So Far) podcast with husband Mark Adderley following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, 33, earlier this month.
‘I was a target every time I went out’: Nadia Sawalha has revealed she was sexually assaulted when she was just 10 years old (pictured with husband Mark Adderley)
The host explained how she was forced to wear ‘big blazers’ at school in a bid to avoid attention as she went through puberty at a young age.
The TV star recalled: ‘I am going to be honest, I even get scared in broad daylight. Not since the beginning of time have women been safe on the streets.
‘I was aware at a very young age that something happening with men and I didn’t understand what it was at all, it was normalised. The first time I had a really terrifying experience was when I was on a bus and a man was just staring at me.
‘I remember feeling absolutely petrified and I got off the bus. The next day, he was on the bus again but this time he wasn’t looking at me, so I thought maybe I was imagining it all.
”I’m scared to go out in broad daylight’: The Loose Women star, 56, emotionally detailed when a man ‘followed’ her off a bus and ‘put his hand up her skirt’ (pictured in 1997)
Horrific: The presenter reflected on the experience on her How To Stay Married (So Far) podcast with his spouse following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard earlier this month
‘Not since the beginning of time have women been safe on the streets’: The host explained how she was forced to wear ‘big blazers’ at school in a bid to avoid attention
‘He gets off the bus and follows me. He was getting closer and I started to run – this is about 4PM. He pushes me up against a bench, and at that point I can’t breathe I lost all ability to breathe. I push away from him and I run, I really run.
‘I ran all the way to the hill by my home and I’m nearly there, I am 40 steps from home at the top of the hill and he got to me. He dragged me down the hill. There was a kerfuffle and he put his hand up my skirt and – somebody came over and I ran into the house.’
The media personality went on to reveal she and her parents were ‘hysterical, petrified and horrified’, before she went through similar incidents at the ‘swimming pool and hotels’.
Nadia – who also insisted she was told ‘look angry’ and take catcalling as a ‘jolly joke’ – added that she was ‘ashamed’ and felt like ‘she had done something wrong’ as she was ‘questioned’ by her relatives.
The mother-of-two said: ‘You feel ashamed when these things happen. What did I do that made this guy do this to a young child? What have I done?
‘What have I done?’ The mother-of-two added that she was ‘ashamed’ and felt like ‘she had done something wrong’ as she was ‘questioned’ by her relatives
‘I started to change the way I walked, I looked down and walked very fast, and I still do that 40 years later. I won’t go out at night, I get very, very scared.
‘Now our girls try to dress to look like 15-year-old boys, otherwise they will get cat called. Even if I am out with them, and it was the same for me when I was a kid.’
A survey by UN Women UK recently revealed that 80% of women of all ages in Britain have been sexually harassed.
Marketing executive Sarah went missing on March 3 while she was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham in South London.
‘Now our girls try to dress to look like 15-year-old boys, otherwise they will get cat called’: The couple share daughters Maddie, 18, and Kiki, 13
On Saturday, Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder and kidnapping of Sarah.
The court heard the body of the young woman had been discovered in a builder’s bag in Kent and identified by dental records.
Memorial vigils have since taken place across the UK, including on Clapham Common near to where Sarah first disappeared.
In a controversial move, police later detained several women who were paying their respects due to clashes with Scotland Yard officers.
Unsafe: Following the death of Sarah (pictured) police reportedly advised women to be ‘extra vigilant’ and to stay at home