Sky Sports star Charlie Webster has opened up about self-harming when she was a teenager dealing with the “unbearable pain” of being sexually abused.
The TV presenter, 36, has revealed how she used to hurt herself after going through “difficulties at home and family breakdown”, and later being groomed by her running coach.
Writing in her column for The Telegraph, Charlie said: “I was confused, embarrassed and didn’t understand what was happening, he had spent years grooming me, so I completely trusted him.
“He told me that what he was doing was to help me win races and manipulated me into thinking I was bad for what he was doing.”
Her coach was eventually put behind bars with a 10-year prison sentence.
Charlie, who waived her right to anonymity in 2014 in order to speak out about her experiences, said she internalised her feelings of “anger, distress, worry, sadness and depression” and as they overwhelmed her, she coped by inflicting injuries on herself.
She continued: “It can become a vicious cycle; self-harm can make you feel shame and embarrassment, which creates more overwhelming feelings, which then bring anxiety and can lead to self-harming again – and temporary relief.
“Until you feel ashamed again. The more the cycle continues the dangerous it gets.”
Offering advice for anyone going through what she experienced, Charlie said to find “someone you are comfortable with” and begin by “telling them how you feel and what is making you anxious and upset”. She also said if that’s not an option, writing down your thoughts can help.
Charlie referred to a 2018 report, carried out by The Children’s Society, which found that 22% of girls aged 14 and 8% of boys were self-harming.
In 2016, Charlie almost died of malaria after contracting the killer disease while she was in Brazil for the Rio Olympics.
Speaking about the ordeal on Loose Women a year later, she said: “I just didn’t feel right in myself, normally I’m quite a bubbly, energetic and really buoyant person.
“And then I started to get the worst stomach pains and then I went to the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, I went into the toilet and I was being sick and I was bleeding out of my mouth.”
– If you or anyone you know are struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think of this story.