The Bachelor Australia contestant Vakoo Kauapirura has spoken about being the victim of sexual abuse.
In a new podcast interview with Real Talk with Holly & Ali, the 23-year-old said the traumatic experience took place in Namibia, Africa, where she lived until she was 11.
“I had a really, really good life, but then I had a lot of traumatic stuff happen as well. When I was younger, in Namibia, I was sexually abused. I think I was eight years old, when it happened,” she said during the interview.
While Vakoo didn’t initially tell her mum out of fear, she eventually did and that led to them moving to Manchester, UK.
“I think my mum eventually... because we had another incident. She was like, ‘I need to take her out’,” Vakoo revealed.
The reality star and model also took to Instagram on Friday to tell her social media followers that R U OK? Day on Thursday prompted her to speak about her traumatic experiences from her childhood.
“I am a victim of sexual abuse,” she wrote. “It happened to me multiple times when I was young. I blamed myself, felt ashamed, disgusted, worthless and I could never understand why it happened to me.”
She explained that the trauma led to her not trusting men for a long time, as she “was scared of being hurt in the same way again so I never let a man get too close to me”.
“I always pretended to be OK on the outside but on the inside, it was a different story. I would cry myself to sleep, have nightmares and I was so scared to be alone with my thoughts because they got really dark,” she continued.
“I felt like my soul had been taken away from me and my innocence and purity had been taken away from me at such a young age. I didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Vakoo said she eventually spoke out and reached out for help, and this has allowed her to cope with what happened in the past.
She also took the opportunity to assure her followers that “it’s OK to not be OK”, and encourage them to check up on their family and friends.
Vakoo appeared on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor Australia this year.
For sexual assault and family and domestic violence support you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732.
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or sign up to our daily newsletterhere.