Singer Shania Twain opened up recently about past trauma and body image, revealing she was a victim of sexual abuse.
The singer of hits like “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “You’re Still the One” told the British outlet The Sunday Times that her stepfather sexually and physically abused her during childhood.
Her stepfather and mother died in a car accident 35 years ago.
Twain, 57, said she tried to alter her image throughout puberty to avoid further abuse.
“I hid myself, and I would flatten my boobs. I would wear bras that were too small for me, and I’d wear two, play it down until there was nothing girl about me. Make it easier to go unnoticed,” Twain explained.
“Because, oh my gosh, it was terrible — you didn’t want to be a girl in my house.”
At age 22, Twain began raising her three younger siblings after her mother and stepfather died in a car accident. She said she struggled to embrace her body after the abuse and admitted she “was ashamed of being a girl.”
When Twain began singing, she revealed she was forced to forge a relationship with her body.
“All of a sudden, it was like, well, what’s your problem? You know, you’re a woman, and you have this beautiful body? What was so natural for other people was so scary for me. I felt exploited, but I didn’t have a choice now,” she said.
“I had to play the glamorous singer, had to wear my femininity more openly or more freely. And work out how I’m not gonna get groped or raped by someone’s eyes, you know, and feel so degraded.”
Over the years, Twain learned how to keep herself guarded. “By the time I had my record contracts, I was the kind of woman that … when I walked in the room, it’s like, don’t even get any closer,” she told the outlet. “It was clear in my body language.”
After going through a “metamorphosis of sorts,” Twain now considers herself a confident woman and hopes young girls can exude that same confidence someday.
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