Radio Sandwell News

Sky Sports presenter reveals teenage sexual assault

2014-01-15 08:45:10

Charlie Webster
Webster has campaigned against domestic
violence

TV presenter Charlie Webster, best known for her work on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News, has revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a teenager.

The 31-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live's Phil Williams she was waiving her right to anonymity in order to "break the taboo about abuse as a whole".

She is due to embark on a 250-mile, seven-day run between 40 football grounds for the charity Women's Aid.

The assaults were carried out by her athletics coach when she was 15.

"I got quite close to the running coach because you do," she said.

"You start to trust them when you're a young kid, and he started to take me for a few private sessions because he said I was good and I could do with some extra sessions because that would really help.

"He abused the fact that I was an innocent person who wanted his support and his compassion and his care as my running coach."

'Lacked confidence'

The man was later sentenced to 10 years in jail and put on the sex offenders register for life.

"He was a male role model to me," Webster told 5 live.

"You should never touch a young girl anyway, but he very, very manipulatively and very slowly sexually assaulted me."

She said that she had not told anyone at the time because she did not know it could be reported.

"I didn't understand. I really lacked confidence. I didn't know what he was doing was wrong."

She added: "Not one time in my head did I think 'I'm being sexually assaulted', because if I did, I would have done something about it."

At the time, she said, sexual abuse was "one of these taboos, like domestic abuse is now".

In the end it was another, younger girl who began to record the abuse and contacted the police.

Webster said: "That's why I'm here [speaking on radio] as well. It might help someone else bring it to light. I want to break the taboo about abuse as a whole."

Sheffield-born Webster starts her 250-mile run on Sunday 26 January.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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