In a powerful and honest interview with The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine, Nadiya Hussain reveals that behind her cheerful public personality, lies a horrible childhood incident that left her with mental scars. In that interview the baker tells how she was sexually assaulted by a relative at the age of five.
Struggling with mental health
This is not the first time that Hussain spoke of her lifelong struggle with anxiety. The 2015 Great British Bake Off winner said that the trauma led to her subsequent post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. It also led to a suicide attempt at the age of 10.
“I didn’t know what death was. All I knew was that it meant not living the life I had now – and I didn’t like my life,” she writes.
She told the magazine she only understood what had happened to her years later during a biology lesson. The professor was explaining sex education, prompting her to vomit in the laboratory bench sink.
“If that happened to my children, I don’t even want to say what I would do. I can’t even… just as a mother… I can’t. I have no words. I very rarely have no words,” she added.
History of bullying described in her book
Nadiya, who grew up in a Bangladeshi community, also discusses being a victim of bullying at school in her book: Finding My Voice. It is the first time she has written about the assault, having only told a handful of people recently.
She writes about how a boy in her class exposed himself to her, calling her a “black bitch” and repeatedly slamming her hand in a door. Sha also describes another incident where boys forced her head into a toilet,a memory that has left her with persistent scars and flashbacks.
“I still have that memory of the water going up my nose and feeling like if they don’t pull me up now I am going to drown with my head in this toilet,” she said.
Viewers praised her for allowing cameras to film as she was looking for diagnosis and treatment for her “extreme anxiety”. It takes courage to write in the way that she does about trauma. Hopefully, the book will make a good impact and do exactly what she wants it to: enable young girls to question the boxes society places them in and to dream bigger and better than the previous generation thought possible.