Dan Swygart, who is dating 23-year-old Shauna Rae trapped in the body of an eight-year-old girl, has hit back at critics who called him a “creep”.
The 26-year-old from Wales has slammed criticism that he’s attracted to her “because she looks like a kid”. Instead, Dan has made it clear that he’s dating Shauna for her ‘personality’ and not her childlike looks.
Shauna Rae Lesick, who stars in TLC’s ‘I Am Shauna Rae’ measures just three feet and 10 inches tall and weighs only 50 pounds – the same as an average eight-year-old.
Her stunted growth is a side effect of treatment she received as a child for brain cancer, and the petite star has found it difficult to find love and relationships as a result.
Viewers of Shauna’s TLC show have watched as the couple’s relationship unfolded, as well as Shauna’s parents voicing their concerns.
Shauna’s mother and stepfather, her mother and step-father, Patty and Mark Schrankel, previously expressed their fears that Shauna would attract pedophiles because of her child-like appearance.
However, Dan has defended his relationship with 23-year-old Shauna.
In a video on social media, he explained: “It’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability.
“So, as you are building a connection with her, it’s important to acknowledge her disability and look past that and build it with who she is as an individual.
“She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short.”
He added: “As soon as you say that she can’t have a real-world connection with someone else, you dehumanize her, which is absolutely disgusting.
“She is a human being. She deserves to have relationships and connections with whomever she wants.
“And I think some people aren’t emotionally mature enough to understand that you can have a deep connection based on personality rather than just on looks.”
Dan’s defense of his relationship with Shauna comes after comments flooded in after the episode showing their first dates aired. Viewers rushed to social media to share their thoughts.
One viewer wrote: “Dan almost seems especially attracted to her BECAUSE she is tiny which is concerning. I am sorry.”
Another added: “Yes, she is 23, but she looks and talks like an eight-year-old. She also does not act like a mature woman. She is childlike.”
“If any man or woman can honestly say that they can see her as a “sexual woman,” they are either lying or sick. PERIOD,” said a third.
“I don’t know about this guy… I still think it’s creepy,” added another.