Fashion photographer Nigel Barker has revealed publicly for the first time that he was sexually assaulted as a child.
Barker spoke out about the terrifying incident on his SiriusXM show Gentlemen’s Code Tuesday, in which he recalled being approached by a man in his 40s when he was 8.
The man pretended to need directions, so Barker led him to the spot the man needed to go. When they arrived, the man claimed he couldn’t read and asked for help reading the names on the building’s door.
“I went up to the door and read the names on the buzzers … I went to push it, and he pushed me from behind, jolted me through the doors and I fell to my feet inside the door,” said Barker, who decided to speak out in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “The door closed and I’m not trapped between a stairwell inside and a shut door. I have a man who is much bigger than me, push me to the ground, grab me, pull my trousers and my pants down. I’m now exposed and I’m screaming and thrashing.”
Fortunately Barker, now 43, was able to get away.
“I kicked and I actually kicked him in the nuts and he sort of jumped back for a second. Enough for me to get up, squeeze out, and as he tried to grab for me in the back of my neck and the back of my hair, I ran out,” said Barker. “And I ran all the way home. Now here’s the thing, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell my brothers. I told no one. I was humiliated. I was scared. I was worried. I thought I had done the wrong thing. I thought I had done the bad thing. It was something that stuck with me for a very long time.”
He only told his family about the attack three years later after his sister was the victim of an assault by a neighbor.
“She had been playing around at his house and actually had something very similar happen to her in the house, but it was worse unfortunately,” said Barker.
Barker told his family that he had been assaulted, but at the time they didn’t believe him until much later. He says he hopes by sharing his story he can encourage people to be open about such issues.
“Get out there. Talk about it. And don’t be afraid. Empower our children and our kids to do just that,” said Barker.