Katie Thurston Hopes to Inspire 'Healing' by Talking About Sex and Consent on 'The Bachelorette'
On the latest episode of “The Bachelorette,” Katie Thurston bravely shared her story of a nonconsensual sexual experience.
As viewers witnessed, former Bachelor Nick Viall and Katie asked contestants to describe tough times in their lives that have since inspired personal growth. After listening to her suitors’ raw admissions, Katie felt empowered to make her own revelation.
In an interview with Glamour published Monday, Katie said that she hopes to inspire “healing” by discussing her past trauma in front of millions of viewers.
“Sometimes you don’t realize how impactful something can be. Even in this moment, I haven’t felt it yet, but I know it’s coming,” the Season 17 lead told the outlet. “In some ways it’s going to be so heartbreaking to hear all these people who have relatable experiences, but also as a community, we are all supporting each other.”
She continued, “We are healing and starting conversations so that we can move forward and hopefully educate everyone on what it means to have consent.”
Katie also explained why it’s important to confirm consent before sexual encounters take place.
“What people need to remember is that if you’re uncomfortable having that conversation, then you’re probably not ready to be having sex with that person to begin with,” she said. “If you have a good relationship with this person where, even if it’s casual, romantic, whatever, you should be comfortable to say, ‘Are you OK having sex? Do you want to have sex? Should we have sex?’”
Katie added, “Then the conversation of, ‘Should we use a condom? Do you have a condom?’ If you’re not having those conversations or you don’t feel comfortable doing that, then how are you comfortable having sex with this person?”
Elsewhere, the Washington native detailed her path to recovery.
“I didn’t go to therapy. I wish I did. I think I could have recovered a lot sooner. It took me years of self-reflection,” she acknowledged. “I had failed relationship after failed relationship from that incident and finally realized what was the problem.”
She elaborated, “A lot of it was rooted in sex and not having a healthy relationship with sex or communicating about sex. The older I got and the more failed relationships I had, I thought, ‘What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this?’”
Katie mentioned that RAINN — Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization — is a great resource that victims of sexual trauma can turn to.
“Having the PSA for rainn.org on the screen after that scene was such a great way to turn something so negative for me into a positive movement forward,” she said. “There are so many resources out there, and that’s what I’m really excited about with this episode: educating people on how to get that help.”
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, help is available. For anonymous, confidential, free support 24/7, call @RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat at online at rainn.org.