Current “Bachelorette” lead Katie Thurston opened up to her suitors in a very emotionally vulnerable moment on the reality TV dating series.
The 30-year-old spoke about a past sexual encounter she had that was not consensual and how it led her to have a difficult relationship with intimacy.
“What I’m gonna tell you, a lot of people actually don’t know, including my own mom. I know you see me today as this very sex-positive woman who’s very confident, but she hasn’t always been here,” Thurston began.
“Ten years ago, it was New Year’s Eve, and I had been drinking, and I was involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent,” she said.
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Thurston emphasized how important consent and communication are when it comes to sex with another person.
“That is not something I wish upon anybody,” she said of the encounter. “I was in denial about what happened. So much so that I tried to form a relationship with him because I didn’t wanna believe what actually had happened. And when that didn’t work out, for years, I had a very unhealthy relationship with sex.”
“I didn’t want to have sex, which affects the relationship,” she continued. “I didn’t like talking about sex. And it’s taken me a long time to get to where I am now in being open and comfortable talking about it and loving myself and accepting things that I can no longer control.”
Thurston later added in her confessional interview, she said, “What I shared with the group today is something I never really talked about. For a long time, I felt responsible for being too drunk, too irresponsible, too stupid. But it’s not my fault, because consent is important, and I did not give it that night.”
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On Good Morning America, Thurston said she felt relief talking about sexual assault.
“You see it in that episode this like emotional relief of just like, it’s not my fault, you know, and that was a burden I felt for a very long time as if it was my fault,” she said. “And I do hope, you know, men and women who’ve gone through something similar know that it’s not their fault as well, because that kind of relief from that pain is just — it’s so great.”
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If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.