Penny Lancaster has revealed she was drugged and sexually assaulted at the start of her modelling career.
The ‘Loose Women’ star choked back tears as she detailed the attack on the ITV daytime show on Thursday (19 October).
Penny and co-stars Andrea McLean, Nadia Sawalha and Jane Moore were discussing the recent #MeToo social media movement, and whether it would change the way sexual assault was discussed, when she chose to share her own story.
Recounting the events, she said: “I had a job with a fashion designer and they took me on for a particular job, then they offered me another opportunity to meet some people at an event I was going to.
“I thought someone might be interested and I might get some more work – so I went with him and he said, ‘I have to stop at my apartment’. So I went with him.
“He had a little bar in his apartment and he said, ’Let me pour you a drink while I go grab my bits’.
“The next thing I knew I found myself face down on a bed with him on top of me.”
Becoming emotional as she relived the trauma, Penny continued: “I couldn’t tell my mum and dad because I thought they would be saying to me, ‘What on earth were you doing going back to his house?’. But he was a guy I worked with and he promised me to meet other people. So I was just naive and I trusted him.
Comparing the situation to recent ITV drama ‘Liar’, Penny said her drink was drugged.
“I can’t remember much of what happened, just that he was on top of me and enjoying the experience but I certainly wasn’t – and I was too afraid to tell anybody,” she said.
“I’d never had sex at that point so it was a frightening thing.”
She added: “Young girls have to know that they won’t be told off, it’s not their fault and they have to be brave enough to tell the authorities.”
It is not the first time Penny has opened up on air about being sexually assaulted, as she previously told her co-hosts about an terrifying experience as a child.
Speaking on ‘Loose Women’ in 2015, she revealed how a man had lifted up her skirt while she was walking home from school by herself.
“There are a lot of evil men who prey on people and it has nothing to do with what they wear,” she said.
“Girls and boys just need to be educated of the dangers. It’s still out there on the street.”
‘Loose Women’ airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.
Useful helplines and websites:
- Victim Support - Visit victimsupport.org.uk or call 0808 168 9111 Sexual Abuse Referral Centres - Find a SARC
- Rape Crisis - Visit rapecrisis.org.uk or call 0808 802 9999 The Rape and Abuse Line - Visit rapeandabuseline.co.uk or call 0808 800 0123 (answered by women) or 0808 800 0122 (answered by men).