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Judy Murray reveals sexual assault by drunken executive

Judy Murray. Photo by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Judy Murray. Photo by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Judy Murray has revealed for the first time she was sexually assaulted by a drunken executive at a dinner eight years ago.

The leading tennis coach said the incident occurred at a function in which she was required to give a speech.

She decided to speak out after sexist and racist jokes prompted some tables to walk out of an awards ceremony last week.

In her column for The Sunday Post, Murray, the inspirational mother of Grand Slam champions Jamie and Andy Murray, said she is dismayed that in 2022 women are still having to endure such everyday sexism.

Assault took place at function

She says change will only come when more men join women in calling out unacceptable conduct and reveals how she was assaulted by one man and humiliated by another at two separate functions.

Murray – a national coach and former captain of Great Britain’s Fed Cup team – describes attending a function to speak at an event set up by an educational organisation in Scotland when she was seated beside one of its executives.

She said: “Towards the end of the meal, it was clear he had had quite a bit to drink and he put his hand firstly on my knee.

“I didn’t know what to do so I removed his hand and leaned forward to pour myself some water and as I did he slipped his hand down the back of my trousers.

Andy and Jamie Murray will face England's team on December 21-22 at P&J Live.
Judy Murray’s sons Andy, left, and Jamie, right. Photo by Nick Wass/AP/Shutterstock.

“At that point, I got up and went straight to the bathroom. I wanted to throw up. It rocked me so badly.”

Broadcaster Eilidh Barbour triggered a debate about the apparently persistent culture of sexism in sport after she walked out of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association dinner on May 8.

She said offensive jokes delivered by an after-dinner speaker had left her feeling “unwelcome” in the industry.

Judy Murray says she was not altogether shocked by the incident but said women now have a stronger voice to call out such behaviour.

Judy Murray said the man put his hands down her trousers. Shutterstock.

Recalling the aftermath of her own experience, she said: “I sat in the loos for ages and decided to do the speech – the show must go on and all that – but I didn’t go back into the room until I knew it was time for me to go on stage.

“As soon as I had done my bit, I walked back to the table, picked up my bag and left. I spoke to nobody.

“The incident left me feeling sick to my stomach for a long time.

“I have never spoken of this before but maybe I should have. If something like that happened to me now I definitely would.

“Women have found their voices and are calling out all sorts of sexist behaviour. It has given confidence to others to do the same.”

‘I wanted to ground to swallow me up’

At another function, the Scottish Sports Awards in 2004, she was picking up an award for her son Andy but had not realised it was a black tie event.

She recalls: “I was already feeling uncomfortable but when I went up to collect the award for Andy the presenter joked ‘could he not have bought you something decent to wear?’

Judy Murray says she was humiliated at two separate functions. Photo by Mark Greenwood/Ips/Shutterstock.

“I wanted the ground to swallow me up. After that, I said no to every invitation for fear of saying, doing or wearing the wrong thing.

“Far too often women are made to feel the world of sport is not for us and that our presence is neither welcome nor important. If we don’t make a noise nobody hears us.

“We have to call out injustices and unacceptable behaviour. I understand that now.”

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