Victoria Derbyshire has spoken about the violent abuse she suffered at the hands of her father when she was a teenager.
The 52-year-old broadcaster, who delighted fans during her turn on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, has revealed details of some of the abuse she had to endure when growing up.
After her parents split, Victoria never saw her father again and declined the opportunity to pay her last respects at his funeral, after he died following a stroke during the first lockdown at the beginning of the year.
Speaking to The Times, Victoria recalled how her dad would pour hot soup over her while in a rage, when she was a teenager.
She said the incident left her with “complete contempt” for him and she said that the best way of coping was by “not reacting” to her his outbursts.
Victoria said: “Once I was sitting eating my tea – tomato soup – in my school uniform. He was shouting at me across the kitchen table.
“I looked up and I didn’t say anything. But I was thinking, ‘I have complete contempt for you.’ And he could see it in my eyes.
“So he leant across the table and tipped the hot soup all over my school uniform. My way of dealing with that was not to react. Don’t scream. Don’t cry.”
Victoria also opened about her abusive childhood during a recent episode of BBC’s Panorama, as she explored domestic violence.
She said that her “whole body” would “tense” every time she heard her father’s key in the door.
Victoria said that he would look to provoke an argument so that he could turn to violence against her – often hitting her with a belt or slapping her on the head.
She said that shares sympathy with those who are “trapped” in the same house as their abuser and that she would escape the attentions of her father by staying at her friend’s house.
Victoria said: “When the prime minister told us all to stay at home because of coronavirus, one of my first thoughts was for those living in abusive households.
“Women, men and children, essentially trapped, forced to stay inside week after week – what would happen to them?”
During the Panorama documentary, Victoria returned to the house in Littleborough, Rochdale, where she grew up, for the first time in 35 years.
She said on the show: “Like I could really cry, I could really cry. Pathetic.
“So this is the house where I grew up. It’s so weird, I haven’t been here for so long and I’ve got some really happy memories of being there, but there were some really difficult times because my father was violent.
“You know, this was the 70s and 80s. No one had heard the phrase ‘domestic abuse’. No one knew what it meant, what it was or what it involved.
“If he was in the house we were on eggshells all the time. I remember once he locked my mum in their bedroom and he was hitting her and there was loads of noise and I was scared.”
Victoria added: “So I ran from here down to the police station which is maybe a mile. I was 12 or 13. I was so scared I just ran to the police stations and said ‘my dad’s hitting my mum, please can you come.'”
*If you are a victim of domestic abuse, call Refuge’s freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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