Manchester

Karen Danczuk wants to shed 'selfie queen' image to help abuse victims

Karen Danczuk
Image caption Karen Danczuk, who was raped as a child, has said she wants to help remove the "stigma" suffered by victims of sexual abuse

Karen Danczuk has said she wants to shed her "selfie queen" tag and become an MP to help sexual abuse victims.

The ex-councillor, who was raped by her brother, has become a patron of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood.

Ms Danczuk found fame posting self-portraits on Twitter - though she now believes these were a "cry for help".

She said she hopes to use her media profile to help remove the "stigma" suffered by abuse victims.

Ms Danczuk waived her right to anonymity following the sentencing of Michael Burke in December.

He was jailed for 15 years for a series of sex attacks on his sister and two other victims over an 18-year period.

'Underdog'

Ms Danczuk said her fondness for sharing selfies with her 72,000 followers may have been linked to her abuse, which began when she was aged six.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, she said: "I think I wanted to be normal. I wanted people to look at me in a way that I probably hadn't been looked at before.

"It was a mental thing, it was a confidence thing.

"I feel quite embarrassed. It was a massive cry for help.

"Now when I look back I think, goodness me, I really was ill, and I really feel sorry for me back then."

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Michael Burke was convicted of eight rapes and another serious sexual offence

Ms Danczuk, who is no longer with her Rochdale MP husband Simon Danczuk, said she now wants to offer support to sexual abuse victims and use her Twitter account to debate mental health issues.

"What drives me is I feel I'm an underdog, and there are millions of people out there like me," she said. "It takes just one person to say 'I'm going to fight this and we're going to take it on'.

"There is a stigma that you should be ashamed if you've been raped.

"I think they're really harsh words and actually, by me coming out and saying actually there is no shame in this, it just helps other people."

Ms Danczuk, who was a Labour councillor from 2012 to 2015, said she would like to get back into politics.

She said: "I've been thinking this past week... I would love to be an MP.

"I genuinely would and I just hope I can get the support out there to enable that, because I think my voice is important. Mixed views should be taken into account."

She added she would stand for Labour but said she would not stand against her former husband.

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