The current Miss World New Zealand has revealed she was allegedly sexually abused as a child.
Jess Tyson, 25, told RadioLIVE that she was abused when she was just seven years old.
“From the age of seven I was sexually abused from someone close to the family,” Ms Tyson said.
She says her abuser would come into her room at night, where she would pretend to be asleep in an effort to avoid confrontation.
Ms Tyson told her mother at age nine, and later testified in court. While the charges against the alleged abuser were dismissed due to lack of evidence, Ms Tyson said she received overwhelming support from her friends and family to begin the healing process.
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“I think the hardest thing about being in court is being looked at as if it didn’t happen to me,” she told RadioLIVE.
Ms Tyson’s own organisation, BRAVE, was launched to support New Zealanders affected by sexual violence.
Launched this year, Ms Tyson says the organisation is still in its infancy.
“In the future I’m definitely going to be looking for ambassadors as well.”
Sexual violence helplines:
- Victim Support: 0800 842 846 (24/7 service)
- Rape Crisis: 0800 88 33 00 (will direct you to your closest centre)
- The Harbour: Online support and information for people affected by sexual abuse
- Women's Refuge (for women and children): 0800 733 843
Listen to the full interview with Jess Tyson.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.