TV presenter and former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ contestant Laura Whitmore has revealed that she was sexually assaulted last year, while in a nightclub with her friends.

The 32 year old star made the revelation in an essay penned for Irish publication Hot Press on Wednesday evening (April 11th) titled ‘The Routine Abuse of Women Must Stop’. In it, she said that she had hesitated about coming forward at the time because she was “scared” about “what people might say”.

“Last year I was in a club with my friends and I could feel a hand on the back of my leg,” she wrote. “As I turned, I saw it was a guy who I did not know. He was laughing.”

Laura WhitmoreLaura Whitmore revealed she was the victim of sexual assault last year

The Irish-born star, who recently presented ITV2’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and who previously presented the same channel’s sister show to ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ until 2016, said that it wasn’t the first time she had experienced sexual harassment of this nature. She remembered that, when she was just 16, she had her buttocks “slapped” by a stranger, leading her older cousin to “push the guy against the wall and make him apologise”.

More: Laura Whitmore brands reports she sent Giovanni Pernice abusive texts as “lies”

Now dating co-presenter Iain Sterling, she said that the incident “comes back to her every time I feel violated in a similar way”.

Whitmore also opened up about her experiences on the 2016 edition of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, in which she struggled when paired up with Giovanni Pernice, a pro-dancer with whom she didn’t get on. She exited the competition in the sixth week.

“I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with – and in the end I felt broken. I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end. To the outside world I tried to suck it up and smile, and I did that to the best of my ability – but it affected me deeply.”

More: Laura Whitmore quits as presenter of ITV2’s ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ spin-off show [archive]