On Radio 4’s PM programme yesterday evening, the Lib Dem MP for Wells, and Business Secretary Vince Cable’s PPS, Tessa Munt, revealed to presenter Carolyn Quinn that she has been a victim of child abuse.
Munt, who has been campaigning for an overarching inquiry into child abuse allegations coming to light about an alleged ring of paedophile MPs in Westminster operating during the Eighties, spoke on the programme about her own experience of child abuse.
Munt, who is one of many MPs to have written to the Home Secretary calling for an independent inquiry, told the programme:
… I have to say to you, from a personal point of view, I’m a survivor. This isn’t about me, it’s about the victims who are not in a position to be able to speak up and say for themselves that ‘I’ve got my life back together’, because some of these people will have been suffering for 50, 60, 70 years…
I had a period in my life which was not happy. I was the victim of sexual abuse, but with the support of my family and my friends, I have dealt with that, I had counselling, and it was fantastic. I’m so pleased because it gave me the strength to come somewhere like this and make sure that justice is done for other people, it’s really important.
The Lib Dem MP has never spoken about her experience publicly before. She said, “it’s important to me that we make it better for other people, that’s one of the reasons why I’m here.”
“It is difficult to speak about this stuff,” she continued, “there are no words. Good grief, I was in my thirties and – I’ve never been lost for words before – I couldn’t say what had happened. I understand what it feels like. I’m very lucky that I’ve got past that now, with a lot of support, as I said, from my family and friends.”
She suffered the abuse as a child, but didn’t speak about it until she was in her thirties and expecting her first child. “When I was a child, I didn’t feel I was going to be believed.”
Here’s the interview, from the BBC’s PM programme’s Audioboo page: