Katie Thurtson elaborated on the sexual assault story she shared during Monday’s episode of The Bachelorette.
She appeared on the Talking Out podcast with Bachelor Nation stars Mike Johnson and Bryan Abasolo to go more in-depth into experience.
Katie shared how it felt to be so vulnerable about her assault story on national television and acknowledged that “people do struggle with opening up and sharing their truth” and that it requires a certain amount of vulnerability. She explained that in the circle, that’s exactly what the men did. While she didn’t plan on sharing her story, her contestants’ vulnerability inspired her to.
“One person started to open up and then the other person was like, ‘Well if they’re gonna share, I’m gonna share,’ and just kind of continue this domino effect. And that’s really all I hope with me sharing my story tonight,” Katie stated.
She then expressed the effect that she hopes sharing her story had on viewers and sexual assault victims like her.
She hopes “that men and women who have gone through similar experiences can start talking about something that they’ve gone through or parents can talk to their kids about what consent is.”
Katie endured her assault at 20 years old and now at 30, she’s sharing her story for the first time. She hadn’t told anyone except for her two close friends. She hadn’t told her mom out of shame.
Katie opens up about her past with her assaulter
She revealed that it is not only someone that she knew but whom she grew up and went to high school with.
She expressed that while he was in her friend group, she had never had any intimate experiences with him prior to that New Year’s Eve night.
She had been making out with him on a bed, which is why she had felt she was at fault for so long. She shared that he proceeded further and slid her underwear to the side while she was too drunk to consent.
However, she stated because the Me Too movement didn’t exist then, she feels he had no idea what he did was wrong.
After the fact, she continued to pursue a relationship with him to justify the encounter. She admitted that she associated sex with serious relationships and never had it outside of a relationship prior to the assault.
She revealed that since her birthday was soon after New Year’s Eve, she surely went out with him and her friends to celebrate. She eventually realized that he had gotten what he wanted from her and didn’t want a relationship with her.
How the assault affected Katie’s relationships and how she overcame it
Katie revealed that she struggled with intimacy after the assault. She had three serious relationships after the assault with men she claimed she was in love with.
However, they would always argue over sex. She said she felt like she had to force herself to do it in order to please the men she was with, even if she didn’t want to.
She revealed that “it took time” and “a lot of failed relationships” for her to realize that she was hurting.
She shared how she recovered and repaired her relationship with sex.
“The first step I had to do was not try to please my man if it was something that I didn’t want to do mentally or physically in that moment,” she expressed.
From there, she paid closer attention to her inner thoughts.
“There’s not like a book that I read or some documentary I watched it’s just self-reflection,” she stated.
“It took ten years of self-reflection and growth to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with myself, with sex, with my future partner,” she added.
Between Katie’s sexual assault story and Michael opening up about his wife who passed from cancer, this episode certainly tugged at viewers’ heartstrings.
The Bachelorette airs on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.