Shania Twain was sexually abused by her stepfather from the age of 10.

The 'Still the One' hitmaker doesn't like to go into detail at the ordeal she suffered at the hands of Jerry Twain - who died in a car crash alongside her mother Sharon in 1987 - when she was younger but she will speak about it to show other people that it is something that can be ''survived''.

She said of the abuse: ''Physically and psychologically. Oh yes, sexually. Uh huh, uh huh. I'm not going to go into details about it.

''I don't mind saying it, because I do think it's important that people understand you can survive these things.

''[It started] around the age of 10.''

The 52-year-old singer - who opened up about the physical abuse in her 2011 memoir - learned to ''block out'' her stepfather's actions and was able to get through her ordeal by reassuring herself that Jerry was ''not well''.

She added to The Guardian newspaper: ''I feel the sexual abuse goes hand in hand with the physical and psychological abuse when it's somebody you know. I learned to block it out.

''Abusers need to manipulate you, whether it's before or after, and what I said to myself is: 'OK, there's something wrong with this person and that person is not well.' ''

The 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman' singer didn't want to speak out about the abuse at the time because she worried it would break up her family, which included her two sisters, a half-brother and Jerry's nephew.

She admitted: ''I did feel sorry for myself a lot as a kid. It was either go to Children's Aid and get saved now or ... I weighed it up and thought: 'If I go to Children's Aid, we'll all get separated,' and I just couldn't bear that, so we all stayed together for better or for worse.''

Shania - who never knew her biological father - saw a number of violent fights between Jerry and Sharon and lived in fear that one of them would end up dead.

She said: ''I was worried about my father killing my mother. I thought they'd kill each other. My mom was quite violent, too.

''Many nights I went to bed thinking: 'Don't go to sleep, don't go to sleep, wait till they are sleeping.' And I would wake up and make sure everybody was breathing.''