UK

Charlie Webster, Sky Sports Presenter, Reveals She Was Sexually Abused As A Teenager

15/01/2014 08:55 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT
Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick
Charlie Webster attending the The Grand Opening of the Statoil Masters Tennis, at the Royal Albert Hall in west London.

TV presenter Charlie Webster has revealed she was sexually assaulted when she was a teenager.

The 31-year-old, who presents on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News, told Phil Williams from BBC Radio 5 live that her running coach carried out the assaults when she was 15.

The Sheffield-born presenter waived her right to anonymity to "break the taboo about abuse as a whole".

She is about to embark on a 250-mile, seven-day run to raise money and awareness for Women's Aid, a charity that works to end domestic abuse against women and children.

She said: "I got quite close to the running coach because you do.

"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 took me into a private situation where no one else was and then he abused my trust, and he abused the fact that I was an innocent person who wanted his support and his compassion and his care as my running coach."

The man was later jailed for 10 years and put on the sex offenders register for life.

Ms Webster said he had been a "male role model" to her, important for a young child, but that he broke the trust of his position by taking it too far.

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

"It doesn't matter how many times, (but) it happened, it happened a couple of times. You don't realise, well I didn't realise it was happening, because you trust that person and that trust is built up."

Ms Webster said she didn't tell anyone because she didn't know then it was something she could report.

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

She said that it had been another, younger girl who began to record the abuse and took it to the police.

Ms Webster said sexual abuse at the time wasn't spoken about, saying it was "one of these taboos, like domestic abuse is now".

She added: "That's why I'm here (on the radio) as well. It might help someone else bring it to light. I want to break the taboo about abuse as a whole."

Ms Webster starts her 250-mile run on January 26.