LOOSE Women's Nadia Sawalha has opened up about a horrific sexual assault that happened to her when she was just 10 years old.
The 56-year-old TV host revealed how a man put his "hand up her skirt" after following her from a bus stop near her house.
Nadia revealed the details of the terrifying ordeal on her How To Stay Married (So Far) podcast, which she hosts alongside husband Mark Adderly.
The couple discussed experiences of harassment in the latest episode following the kidnap murder of Sarah Everard, 33, on March 3.
Nadia explained how a man had followed her and "pushed her against a bench" in an attempt to abuse her in broad daylight.
"I was a target every single time I went out," Nadia began, detailing how she "got boobs" very young and was forced to wear "bigger blazer" in an attempt to curb unwanted male attention.
"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," she continued.
Nadia described being "shouted at" by men while she walked by "in school uniform", but was told to take it as a "jolly joke" when she was young.
"The first time I had a really terrifying experience was when I was on a bus and a man was just staring at me," she continued.
"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.
"Long story short, he gets off the bus and follows me. He was getting closer and I started to run – this is about four o'clock in the afternoon.
"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."
Nadia explained the incident, which happened when she "was about ten",left her "hysterical" and her parents "petrified and horrified".
The mum-of-two daughters said she was "questioned" by her family over the ordeal and "felt she had done something wrong", leaving her feeling "ashamed".
"You feel ashamed when these things happen," she explained. "What did I do that made this guy do this to a young child? What have I done?"
Just one of many "terrifying incidents" for the star, she detailed how incidents happened "at the swimming pool" or "in hotels".
Nadia revealed how after opening up about her ordeals, her father told her to "look angry" instead of being friendly to strangers from then on.
"I started to change the way I walked, I looked down and walked very fast, and I still do that 40 years later," she said.
The star said she is still afraid to go out alone and "won't go out at night" because she gets "very, very scared".
She also fears for her two daughters, Kiki, 13, and Maddie, 18, who "dress like boys" in order to avoid harassment.
"I am going to be honest, I even get scared in broad daylight," Nadia added. "Not since the beginning of time have women been safe on the streets.
"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."
Earlier this year, Nadia opened up about battling with disordered eating and hating her body and cellulite for years.
The size-14 presenter now regularly strips off on social media to promote body positivity and favours “intuitive eating”.
Nadia exclusively told The Sun: “This is the first year in my whole adult life when I’m not on a diet and it’s so liberating.
“Every January I’d diet, lose weight and then I’d put it back on every time. So I’m really trying to get back to intuitive eating — it’s a complete revolution.
“You only eat when you’re hungry and only the things that you want, and you don’t obsess about what’s healthy or not.”
Source: Read Full Article