(Reuters) – Swedish golfer Madelene Sagstrom has revealed she was sexually abused as a child and hopes that by speaking out, she could help others in the same situation cope with the trauma.
Sagstrom, ranked 62nd in the world, said she was abused by an adult male friend in Sweden when she was 7, but kept it a secret for 16 years.
The 28-year-old said she first shared her story in 2016 with her mentor Robert Karlsson, a former Ryder Cup player whom she met through the Swedish national team.
“For 16 years I acted like nothing happened,” Sagstrom told the LPGA Tour https://www.lpga.com/news/2021/sagstrom-if-i-touch-one-life- it-will-all- worth it. “I immersed myself in golf. Golf has become my savior. And when I played well, it was fine.
“What I didn’t realize was that I just didn’t like who I was. All these years I blamed myself. I hated myself. I despised my body and hurt myself mentally and physically. That day haunted me.
Telling Robert was the greatest outing I have ever had. It’s a big reason I won three times in 2016 and won my LPGA Tour card. I didn’t feel like I was hiding anymore. . “
Sagstrom later told her family and others around her, which she described as “the start of a new chapter” in her life.
“The day I shared my secret, all of my walls collapsed,” she says. “Finding my voice and the courage to share my experience took time.
“If I touch a life by telling my story, it will be worth it.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)