'The truth is that we’ve all had enough'

Laura Whitmore

Irish TV presenter Laura Whitmore has been inspired to ‘speak up for herself’ this week and reveal her own experiences of sexual abuse.

In a powerful and personal account, the 32-year-old Wicklow woman hit out at everyday sexual harassment and sexist portrayals of women in the media. ‘Enough is Enough’, Laura says.

Getting groped in a nightclub, having her ass slapped in public, being seen as ‘blonde bait’ are just some of her hidden ordeals.

Writing in Hot Press magazine, Laura said: “Last year I was in a club with my friends and I could feel a hand on the back of my leg. 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 ‘fucking hands off me’. It was dark and I was shocked by what had just happened. I couldn’t recognise his face under the strobing 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?”

In light of the Belfast rugby rape trial, Laura criticised the ‘media circus’ and shared hard-hitting worry: “My fear now is the media circus and the ‘slut-shaming’ will stop other women from coming forward when they have been the victim of assault or rape.”

As a hard-working and successful woman in the industry, Laura said she has been subjected to constant constant speculation about love interests and invasive media scrutiny.

She opens up about events that she has been too embarrassed to speak of before, including a photographer parked up outside her home seeking ‘near pants shots’ up her dress, something she said most women in the entertainment industry endure.

“I now worry whether a man will put a camera under my skirt. How is this the world we live in? How is this legal?,” she said.

“To say that there are more important things going on in the world than the colour of my pants would be funny if all of this weren’t so invasive, so horrible, so cheap and nasty.”

Laura’s article hits out at men in power and the media, and she takes a stand for all women:

“I know that compared to many people I have been fortunate. I love this life and I’ve been blessed with wonderful opportunities – but I’ve had enough of being trivialised and gossiped about. Women are not playthings, either of men or of the media, and should not be treated as such.

“As women, we need to start celebrating ourselves and asserting our true worth. We are not meat. We are beautiful, complex creatures. We should not have to feel like we are constantly on guard.”

Read the article in full here on HotPress.com: www.hotpress.com/Laura-Whitmore/politics/frontlines/Laura-Whitmore-The-Routine-Abuse-of-Women-Must-Stop