Shania Twain is getting candid about her traumatic childhood experience.
The country star revealed that she suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather Jerry Twain, leading her to try and downplay her feminine features.
"I hid myself and I would flatten my boobs," Shania told The Sunday Times Dec. 4. "I would wear bras that were too small for me, and I'd wear two, play it down until there was nothing girl about me. Make it easier to go unnoticed. Because, oh my gosh, it was terrible—you didn't want to be a girl in my house."
The 57-year-old went on to explain that after her stepfather and mother Sharon Morrison died in a car accident when she was 22, she stepped in to raise her four siblings—all while coping with their death and coming to terms with the abuse she says she experienced.
"Then you go into society and you're a girl and you're getting the normal other unpleasant stuff too, and that reinforces it," she continued. "So then you think, 'Oh, I guess it's just s--tty to be a girl. Oh, it's so s--tty to have boobs.' I was ashamed of being a girl."
The "That Don't Impress Me Much" singer noted that early in her career she felt criticized for not wanting to show off her body or play into a sexy persona on-stage.
"All of a sudden it was like, well, what's your problem? You know, you're a woman and you have this beautiful body? What was so natural for other people was so scary for me. I felt exploited, but I didn't have a choice now," Shania explained. "I had to play the glamorous singer, had to wear my femininity more openly or more freely. And work out how I'm not gonna get groped, or raped by someone's eyes, you know, and feel so degraded."
Shania added that by the time she signed with a label in Nashville in 1992 she had an air of confidence to her and the way she carried herself—something she could see others sensed.
"By the time I had my record contracts I was the kind of woman that when I walked in the room, it's like, don't even get any closer," she recalled. "It was clear in my body language. And I think maybe what young girls can learn too is to exude that confidence."