Former This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford has opened up about her history with sexual assault, drawing on memories of her own experiences which started when she was just 11-years-of-age.
“Not every man is a danger, not every man is a sexual predator or a murderer but they are also not us,” the 61-year-old ITV presenter wrote in an article for Best Magazine.
“The awful death of Sarah Everard has got a lot of women re-evaluating what we feel, what we have, or do, put up with – just by being a woman.”
“I have a husband who honours, respects, champions and defends women – however, he also has no experience of sexual harassment,” Ruth continued, referring to her husband, Eamonn Holmes.
“When I have the same conversation with my girlfriends, they all have frightening tales to tell. In my case, my earliest recollections all centred around travelling to and from school in London.”
“The Tube was my mode of transport and in the Seventies, it also seemed that perverts and predators were drawn to the same routes I took like wasps to jam,” Ruth writes, as she bravely recalled her own horrifying experiences with sexual assault.
“I was flashed at more than once, followed a few times and a man once put his hand up my skirt on a crowded train. These incidents all happened to me between the ages of about 11 and 16.”
“I now ask myself why I didn't shout, scream, kick up a fuss, report them to an official - all the things I would urge any girl or woman to do today,” she added.
“I was young and nobody talked about these things then, so I didn't know what to do... so I did nothing. Just kept my wits about me and hoped it wouldn't happen again.”
“Sarah Everard's death marks a line in the sand. No more writing off stalking, exposing and sexual harassment as simply weird or odd behaviour... something that women grit their teeth and bear.”
“It's time to serve notice on bad men (not all men). Enough is enough – this ends here. If left unchecked, one form of sexual abuse leads to another, and another.”
If you have been affected by sexual assault then please reach out to the National Rape Crisis Centre or call their helpline on 1800 77 8888 for support.