Paralysed by fear: Women MPs reveal sex assaults in bid to help victims speak up

Women MPs have revealed shocking accounts of being subject to sexual assaults and harassment as they aim to encourage victims of abuse to speak out.

Labour's Mary Creagh said she was sexually assaulted by about 12 boys during a school playground game of kiss-chase.

Jess Phillips told how she had been left "paralysed by fear" when she woke up at a party to find her boss undoing her belt and trying to get into her trousers.

Theresa Villiers shared her experienced of sexual harrassment
Theresa Villiers shared her experienced of sexual harrassment (David Young/PA)

Conservative Theresa Villiers said she had to "fend off some groping hands" during the early days of her political career.

Ms Phillips said she was speaking out for the sake of the women who "don't have power to".

She told the London Evening Standard: "I was working in a bar and I remember going to a party and we went back to someone's house and my boss was there.

"I had fallen asleep on the sofa and when I woke up he was undoing my belt and trying to get into my trousers. I was absolutely paralysed with fear. He was loads older than me - maybe 25 years older.

"Someone else came in the room and dragged him off me. Then I went back to work the next day ... it's hard to comprehend that these things are happening until after the event.

"For most women you can look back and say 'I wish I had told the police', but knowing what I know in working in sexual violence services I doubt they would have been able to do something."

Ms Phillips also described an attack in a bar in France while visiting a friend.

She said: "I was 19 or 20 and a young group of lads were talking to us and flirting with us. We all had boyfriends and we said we weren't interested in them and then one of them grabbed me and put me up against a wall and felt my vagina.

Jess Phillips said she was speaking out for the sake of the women who
Jess Phillips said she was speaking out for the sake of the women who "don't have power to" (Yui Mok/PA)

"I spat in his face and I slapped him. I was older then and I'm a relatively vocal human being anyway and I was thrown out of the bar.

"When we left that group just laughed at us. That was proper sexual assault."

Ms Creagh said she was just seven when she was attacked by a group of older boys.

She told the newspaper: "I had my underwear torn off during a game of kiss chase and was sexually assaulted by about 12 boys. They were older than me, about ten or 11 years old."

Ms Creagh also told how when she was 16 her parish priest pinched her bottom, and she revealed that a teacher who had given her a lift drove to his house and turned off the lights before trying to kiss her.

Ms Villiers, a former Northern Ireland Secretary, said: "I recall one instance in the late 90s when I was a candidate for the European elections and attended a Conservative function.

"As I was leaving at the end of the evening after having made my speech, I had to fend off some groping hands from one of the event organisers."

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