National | Domestic violence

Miss World NZ comes out about alleged sexual abuse

When the reigning Miss World NZ was rehearsing for the New Zealand title, she was so overwhelmed by the confidence of another contestant talking about her trauma Jessica Tyson decided to come out on set and talk about her alleged sexual abuse as a child.

“If I was thinking about this two or three years ago, the thought about it was really intimidating and I could never see myself doing it but over the last couple of years I’ve found a reason and a purpose,” she says.

The young 25-year-old has launched her own organisation, BRAVE, to help young victims of abuse,

“BRAVE is a charitable organisation to help young people and high school students to learn more about sexual violence and help others to help themselves.”

Jessica Tyson says Miss World was more than the pomp and ceremony.  It gave her the chance to use her platform as Miss World New Zealand to speak to young women all over NZ.

“I went home recently to talk to schools and the feedback that I’ve been receiving from these girls just blows my mind.  These girls have been through similar experiences to me and have told me that after seeing me speaking they’ve found a new confidence within themselves,” Jessica says.

Tyson will travel to China in December to represent New Zealand for the Miss World title.

She tells her story for the first time tonight on Māori Television’s Native Affairs at 8 pm.