Loose Women star Nadia Sawalha has bravely opened up about being sexually assaulted when she was 10 years old.
Speaking on her and husband Mark Adderly’s podcast How To Stay Married (So Far), Nadia discussed the recent kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard and the subsequent spark in conversation surrounding female safety.
Nadia shared her own frightening experience of sexual assault and admitted she’s scared to go out alone at night and also fears for the safety of her daughters, Maddy, 18, and Kiki, 13.
Recalling the time she was chased home and groped by a man in broad daylight when she was 10, Nadia explained, “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.
“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,” Nadia added.
“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.”
Admitting that she felt “ashamed” after the attack, Nadia went on to explain that she still feels on edge when she is out and urges her daughters to dress as teen boys to prevent cat calling.
“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.
“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.”