Ulrika Jonsson is not sure she'd report a rape today due to low conviction rates

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Ulrika Jonsson attends the Sun's Who Cares Wins Awards 2021 at The Roundhouse on September 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Ulrika Jonsson attends the Sun's Who Cares Wins Awards 2021 at The Roundhouse in September. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Ulrika Jonsson has spoken out about how the world has changed since the rape in her teenage years that shaped who she is, and her relationships with men.

The TV presenter, who had huge fame in the 1990s with shows such as Gladiators and Shooting Stars and will be on the next Celebs Go Dating, spoke to Kate Thornton on the White Wine Question Time podcast. 

She revealed the rape in her 2002 autobiography but said that even these days she would think twice about reporting a rape to the police because of low rape conviction rates.

She said: "There was no such thing as date rape in those days. In those days, it was still okay to rape your wife, you could still force yourself on your wife effectively. Nobody talked about these things. 

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"So the reason I brought it up in my autobiography was because this was something that happened to me, and it helped shape who I am. All our experiences shape who I am. 

"It wasn't an attention seeking thing, it's part of my makeup, and how it maybe changed my relationship to sex, or my relationship to men. So it was really important. 

"Years on after that, when it came out in my autobiography, it very much became a thing about why didn't you go to the police? It did not even occur to me, it would not even occur to me, that if you were meeting somebody in a hotel room, which sounds really seedy... 

Listen to the full episode to hear Ulrika talk about celebrating her body as she embraces the menopause

"I completely felt like I didn't have a leg to stand on. And I kind of felt like, you almost felt like you had kind of invited it or you had helped make it happen. 

"And that's part of the whole story that as women we've been living with for decades, centuries, which is the fact that we haven't had a voice, and nobody has really spoken up. And if you have spoken up, the patriarchy has always shut us down. 

"Like: 'Don't make a fuss, get back in your box'. So if it happened to me today, number one: yes, I would go to the police. 

"Number two: the state of rape prosecutions would probably also put me off. I'm still at that stage where I'm going, what would I do? And how would it feel? 

Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu hosted Gladiators in its heyday. (Photo by David Jones - PA Images via Getty Images)
Ulrika Jonsson and John Fashanu hosted Gladiators in its heyday. (Photo by David Jones - PA Images via Getty Images)

"So I think we've obviously moved on massively, but equally, you know, the hard legal facts, speak volumes about where we're still stuck."

She also talked about where she thought her need to speak out came from.

She said: "We've all suffered at the hands of this sort of casual sexism that goes on in the workplace, still, and I just kind of shut up. But inside I was raging and I was like, I don't understand this, this is harmful, or childish, or damaging, or whatever. 

Read more: Ulrika Jonsson's daughter Bo has decided not to meet real dad

"And so my voice fundamentally, for me, is about honesty. And I like to give of myself, so I'm quite happy to say, yeah, that was a bad move. That was a sign of weakness. 

"I don't want to judge other people or situations from some sort of moral high ground. I always think if I share a bit of me, my experiences and how how I feel about situations it will, perhaps, engender some kind of honesty amongst other people, and they will maybe reflect. 

"I mean, that's not the reason I do it. I guess I say it because I'm a bit gobby! I don't know, but I try and do it in a nice way."

If you've been affected by rape or sexual abuse, please visit rapecrisis.org.uk where you'll find full details on how to talk to trained skilled listeners.

WATCH: Ulrika Jonsson on why some reactions to her experience of abuse have put her off watching Premier League football

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