Entertainment News

  • 27 January 2014, 10:47

Women's Aid: Abused Sky Presenter's Charity Run

Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster has set off on a seven-day, 250-mile run to raise money and awareness for a charity tackling domestic abuse.

During the week-long challenge, the Women's Aid ambassador will visit 40 football clubs across the country. 

The TV presenter recently waived her right to anonymity to reveal she was sexually abused as a teenager. 

Her abuser was later sentenced to 10 years in prison and put on the sex offenders' register after another girl went to police. 

Speaking to Sky News before she set off from Burton Albion FC in Staffordshire, she said she wants to make a stand against "abuse as a whole".

She added: "People say 'why is this happening?' Why don't they just leave? It's the woman's fault.'

"We need to turn this around and say, 'why are we breeding a cycle of abuse and why are men doing this to women?'"

According to the British Crime Survey, a quarter of women in the UK will experience domestic abuse, and two women are killed by their partner or former partner every week.

Hannah - whose name has been changed to protect her identity - left her violent partner after years of beatings and psychological abuse. 

She initially moved to a women's refuge with her two children and now has her own business and is applying for a university course. 

"You get so isolated and you're on your own and don't believe that you're good enough to leave," she told Sky News.

"I think it's those factors of not knowing where help is and feeling alone and not believing that you can do it on your own - that's why a lot of women don't leave."

Recalling the physical abuse she suffered, she said on one occasion her nose was broken when she was headbutted.

"You hear of men crying and saying they're never going to do it again and apologising and stuff. I didn't get any of that. He wasn't sorry. I deserved it - apparently.

"He kneed me in the stomach so hard that I actually peed myself.  That was probably - physically as well as emotionally - one of the worst.

"I was crying.  And he just made a really horrible comment and walked off and left me."

Women's Aid is pointing to the case of Linzi Ashton, who was murdered by a violent ex-partner, as a sign more work is needed to help victims of domestic abuse. 

When she was killed she had already reported Michael Cope to police over allegations he had raped and beaten her. 

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating whether Greater Manchester Police responded appropriately to her allegations. 

Last week Cope was jailed for at least 27 years for murder.

Describing the case as "absolutely tragic", Polly Neate, from Women's Aid, told Sky: "The fact she had sought help before she died is terrible - but it's also not unusual."

Police forces say attitudes have changed and domestic abuse is a priority though. 

Avon and Somerset's Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers on domestic violence issues, said she wants more women to report the crime or seek help from domestic abuse charities.

"We're working really hard to give women more confidence to report abuse to us and reassure them that what's happening is not too trivial to tell us about," she said.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

 

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