By Corey Atad.

Shania Twain is opening up about the traumas she faced as a child.

Speaking with The Sunday Times this week, the Canadian country icon shared the lengths she went to in order to avoid sexual abuse from her stepfather.

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“I hid myself and I would flatten my boobs,” the 57-year-old recalled. “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. Because, oh my gosh, it was terrible — you didn’t want to be a girl in my house.”

At 22, Twain’s stepfather and mother died in a car accident, leaving her to take care of her siblings while pursuing a career in music.

“Then you go into society and you’re a girl and you’re getting the normal other unpleasant stuff too, and that reinforces it,” she said. “So then you think, ‘Oh, I guess it’s just s**ty to be a girl. Oh, it’s so s**ty to have boobs.’ I was ashamed of being a girl.”

She continued, “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. 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.”

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But over time, Twain began to find success and the confidence to deal with those issues of sexism and misogyny.

“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 said. “It was clear in my body language. And I think maybe what young girls can learn too is to exude that confidence.”


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Ellen Bullock