Christine McGuinness opens up about being sexually abused as a child in autism documentary
Model and TV personality Christine McGuinness has discussed the sexual abuse she suffered as a child in her new documentary, Unmasking My Autism.
For the show, which airs on BBC One on Wednesday 15 March, McGuinness spoke to specialists, who told her that many women with autism have experienced domestic or sexual violence in relationships.
“I experienced that and I didn’t speak up, and I wonder if I never said it because I was autistic,” McGuinness, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2021, said. “Was it me? Would a neurotypical woman have said something? Is it my fault? How did I find myself there? All of those questions.
“It’s something I experienced when I was a teenager, and then when I met my husband [Take Me Out presenter 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 him 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.”
The couple share 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.”
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.
If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331