Region: Former Look East presenter Charlie Webster tells of teenage sex assault ordeal
14:39 15 January 2014
Television presenter Charlie Webster has revealed that she was sexually assaulted when she was a teenager.
The 31-year-old, a former sports presenter on BBC Look East and who now presents on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News, told BBC Radio 5 live’s Phil Williams the assaults were carried out by her running coach when she was 15.
Ms Webster said she was waiving 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 which works to end domestic abuse against women and children.
“I got quite close to the running coach because you do,” she told the programme.
“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 did not tell anyone because she did not 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 that sexual abuse at the time was “one of these taboos, like domestic abuse is now”, that wasn’t spoken about. She said: “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.