Published:  09:41 AM, 16 March 2023

'I was sexually abused, like so many autistic women'

'I was sexually abused, like so many autistic women'
Model and TV personality Christine McGuinness speaks to the BBC about her adult autism diagnosis and her experience with sexual abuse.
Christine McGuinness got her autism diagnosis in 2021, at the age of 33, BBC reports.

For her, it explained a lot. As a teenager in Liverpool, she struggled to keep her focus at school, and got into trouble throwing chairs. She left at 14 without any qualifications. "I was a very confused, mixed-up little teenager not really knowing where I fitted in," she says.

From childhood, sensory issues meant she only ate beige foods. In her teens, this led to an eating disorder that caused her periods to stop.
And she's hypersensitive to sound and smell, which can make being in busy or noisy places difficult.

"I always just want to wear ear defenders," Christine - the former partner of TV presenter Paddy McGuinness - says about being triggered by certain noises in a room, like the ticking of a clock.

But one of the most difficult aspects of Christine's life came when she was younger. She was sexually abused from age nine to 11. She was then raped at 14.The experience was so traumatic, she prayed every night that she wouldn't wake up the next morning. "Just because it was so awful," she says, "it was just awful."

A large number of autistic women and girls report experiences of sexual assault, says Dr Sarah Lister Brook, clinical director at the National Autistic Society. This can take the form of coercive, physical or sexual abuse. "This is a serious and deeply concerning issue," Dr Brook adds.

One 2022 study, an online survey that spoke to 225 people, suggests that nearly nine in 10 autistic women have been victims of "sexual violence". The researchers add: "Two thirds of the victims were very young when they were first assaulted."

Latest News

More From Entertainment

Go to Home Page »

Site Index The Asian Age