Saira Khan has described the anger she felt after being inappropriately touched by her uncle as a schoolgirl, but maintains she is not a victim and that she does not want pity.
The former Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother star, 46, broke down in tears while on ITV’s Loose Women earlier this week as she publicly revealed for the first time that she had been sexually abused by a family member.
She has now spoken further of the ordeal that happened in her family home, in her bedroom at just 13 years old.
But Saira adds that, while her “innocence was taken away” by her father’s brother – who has since died – she vowed that she would never let a man touch her again without her permission.
The TV star told The Daily Mirror: “I am a strong woman but that day my innocence was taken away.
“It was a one-off but enough to shape what happened the rest of my life. Some may find that hard to believe. But it is true. I’m not saying it made me a victim and I certainly don’t want pity.”
She said: “I must have been born with DNA which makes me angry and stronger when bad things happen but many women aren’t born that way and they deal with sexual abuse through drugs or alcohol and generally can’t get their lives back on track.
“Whole lives can be wasted because of what one person did to them. Some might say, ‘they should get on with their lives’ but some women just can’t do that.”
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Saira said her uncle came into her bedroom while she studied and inappropriately touched her.
She explained that she felt she became an adult that day after previously being “totally innocent”.
She said: “He carried on and on and because I didn’t know what to do, I did nothing, just kept doing my homework. It was like in that moment I was transported into the adult world. Everything changed.”
“Up until that day I’d been totally innocent. I wasn’t even allowed to play out or get on a bus by myself.”
During her appearance on the ITV daytime show, on which she is a panellist, Saira became visibly upset as she talked openly about her experience for the first time.
She had been inspired to open up about her ordeal after talking about Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman who was gang raped in her village and forced to walk through the streets naked.
— Saira Khan (@IamSairaKhan) November 3, 2016
The panel show was discussing the decision by US magazine Glamour to give U2′s Bono a Woman of the Year Award when Saira said she would have preferred to see Ms Mai on the list.
Speaking to the newspaper after her Loose Women confession, Saira said only when her uncle and her father were both dead, did she confide what had happened to her mother and brothers.
She admitted that her mother questioned her for revealing all on TV but said that “deep down I think she understands”.
“Since the show, I’ve been inundated with messages from women with similar experiences.”