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Sunday 9 December 2018

'I was groped by a laughing man in nightclub' - Laura

Laura Whitmore
Laura Whitmore

TV star Laura Whitmore has spoken about her experiences of sexual harassment and abuse, telling how she was once groped in a busy nightclub.

The Bray presenter wrote a powerful article about the #MeToo movement for the new issue of Hot Press, which is out today.

In it, the 32-year-old revealed she was the victim of a sexual assault last year.

"I was in a club with my friends and I could feel a hand on the back of my leg," she wrote.

Pinch

"Initially I thought it was my boyfriend messing or a mate about to pinch my bottom, but the hand went under my skirt, between my legs and firmly touched me.

"As I turned, I saw it was a guy who I did not know. He was laughing.

"I pushed him away and told him to get his f**king hands off me. It was dark and I was shocked by what had just happened.

"I couldn't recognise his face under the strobe lights, and then he was gone.

"I was a bit tipsy and I was wearing a short skirt. Did I deserve that to happen? I told the manager, but what could I do? What was the point?"

Explaining her decision to go public over the experience, the London-based presenter admitted it wasn't the first time she had been manhandled by a stranger.

"I had my ass slapped when I was 16 in a local club in Ireland and my older cousin who was with me pushed the guy against a wall and made him apologise to me," she said.

"That single moment comes back to me every time I feel violated in a similar way.

"First time I moved to London, someone smacked my ass before I got on to a bus. I've had lewd remarks shouted at me."

Laura told how she was also inspired to join the #MeToo movement in solidarity with women who have been through a lot worse.

The former I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here Now! host said she was shocked when, a few years ago, a close friend confided in her that she has been raped by someone Laura had worked and socialised with.

Power

"The man in question is someone of importance and works in her line of business," she said.

"Let's just say, he had the power - and still does - to screw her career if he wanted to."

She added that when she asked her friend why she didn't report the matter to the police, she responded that she couldn't go up against him.

Laura, who is dating Scottish comedian Iain Stirling, opened up about her own experience of dodging the clutches of a "well-known Hollywood producer" at the Baftas two years ago after he tracked down her hotel room number.

"He was a well-respected man in the industry, but it was almost common knowledge not to be alone with him," she said.

The full article can be read in the latest Hot Press.

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