'AWFUL' | 

Christine McGuinness reveals she was sexually abused and raped as a child

She opened up about her own experiences, having been sexually abused aged nine to 11, and raped when she was 14.

Christine Mcguinness in Unmasking My Autism© BBC / Optomen / Duncan Stingemor

Christine McGuinness unveiled Carryduff centre in 2019

Ellie Harrison and Isobel LewisLondon Independent

Model and TV personality Christine McGuinness has discussed the sexual abuse she suffered as a child in her new documentary,Unmasking My Autism.

In the special, Christine speaks to specialists who told her that many women with autism have experienced domestic or sexual violence in relationships.

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star then opened up about her own experiences, having been sexually abused aged nine to 11, and raped when she was 14.

Christine, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2021, said: “I experienced that and I didn’t speak up, and I wonder if I never said it because I was autistic.

“Was it me? Would a neurotypical woman have said something? Is it my fault? How did I find myself there? All of those questions.”

She explained: “It’s something I experienced when I was a teenager, and then when I met my husband [Take Me Outpresenter Paddy McGuinness], that was a time where I felt very safe and I wonder that’s why I stayed in that relationship for 15 years.”

Christine, who announced her split from Paddy last summer, was asked if she felt more able to leave the presenter after her autism diagnosis.

“Yeah,” she said, “because I know that I’ve stayed in a place where I was probably unhappy because it was safe and I don’t like change and ultimately I wanted to keep my family together.”

Paddy and Christine McGuinness

22/01/19 PA File Photo of Christine McGuinness and Paddy McGuinness attending the National Television Awards 2019 held at the O2 Arena, London. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV McGuinness. Picture credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Images. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV McGuinness. ...F

The couple have three children, all of whom have autism. They made a documentary about the experience of raising autistic children in 2021.

“My relationships before Patrick were not very good,” Christine said in the new documentary.

“I’d say they were all pretty bad experiences. I don’t know how to say it. Before Patrick, I had been sexually abused. I was raped. I used to pray, and it’s sad now when I think about it, I’d pray every night that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I just didn’t want to live, just because it was so awful. It was just awful.”

Discussing her experiences in an interview with BBC News, McGuinness said that she hadn’t wanted to live after the assault and abuse “just because it was so awful”.

In her 2021 book A Beautiful Nightmare, Christine wrote about being raped by a classmate at a house party at the age of 13.

She also alleged she was subjected to sexual abuse by an adult close to her family between the ages of nine and 13, who would make her watch violent and sexual videos.

One 2022 study suggests that nearly nine in 10 autistic women have been victims of “sexual violence”, with two thirds of victims “very young when they were first assaulted”.

Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autismairs Wednesday 15 March at 9pm on BBC One and is on BBC iPlayer now.

Helplines: If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, click here for more information, click here for support services.

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