Wakefield MP Mary Creagh speaks of sexual assaults as part of #MeToo movement

Mary Creagh
Mary Creagh

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has revealed she was sexually assaulted in her childhood.

She made the decision to talk about the incidents to encourage more victims to speak out.

Ms Creagh said she had her underwear ripped off and was sexually assaulted during a game of kiss chase in the school playground at the age of just seven.

And later, aged 16, she said she had her bottom pinched by a parish priest.

Ms Creagh is one of several MPs who have spoken out about their experiences this week, as part of the #MeToo movement, designed to raise awareness of the scale of sexual assault and harassment, both in the past and in society today.

“I thought long and hard about whether or not to say anything,” she said.

“But I think until speaking about it is normal, we won’t be able to tackle the problem.

“The norm is something bad happens, you don’t have the power to challenge the perpetrator and so you keep quiet about it.

“That’s the experience for far too many women.”

Ms Creagh also recalls an incident, in which she said a teacher drove her to his house and tried to kiss her, whilst giving her a lift home.

She said she only told her headteacher years later when she feared others could be at risk.

“All of the incidents were disturbing in their different ways,” she said.

The #MeToo movement has seen thousands of people share their harassment and assault experiences online in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Ms Creagh said the scale of the issue was “unsettling” and said conversation with her friends and acquaintances had prompted reflection for her too.

“It brought home to me just how widespread and prevalent this behaviour is and how many people had kept quiet about it,” she said.

“I realised I had kept silent about what had happened to me all those years ago.”

She said women and men of her generation in particular had “suffered an extraordinary amount of abuse from an array of institutions”.

Writing on Facebook, she said: “Sadly this behaviour is still all too common. Silence lets it happen.”