At the end of February, pop star Duffy revealed on social media that her absence from public life, after finding success with her 2008 hit “Mercy,” was at least in part due to a traumatic incident in which she was allegedly raped and held captive. In a new personal essay, the Welsh singer writes about being drugged and sexually assaulted over the course of four weeks by an unnamed male perpetrator. “What is also hard to explain is that, in hiding, in not talking, I was allowing the rape to become a companion,” explains Duffy. “Me and it living in my being, I no longer wanted to feel that intimacy with it, a decade of that intimacy has been destructive. I had to set myself free.”
“It was my birthday, I was drugged at a restaurant,” the singer writes. “I was drugged then for four weeks and travelled to a foreign country. I can’t remember getting on the plane and came round in the back of a travelling vehicle. I was put into a hotel room and the perpetrator returned and raped me. I remember the pain and trying to stay conscious in the room after it happened.”
After the assailant returned with Duffy to her house, “I stayed calm and as normal as someone could in a situation like that, and when I got home, I sat, dazed, like a zombie. I knew my life was in immediate danger, he made veiled confessions of wanting to kill me. With what little strength I had, my instinct was to then run, to run and find somewhere to live that he could not find.”
Duffy says she didn’t report her assault to police at the the time out of fear, but later told two separate police officers about the incident, first following a blackmail attempt and later after an attempted burglary. “Anyone cynical about what I am doing- please don’t be,” the singer writes. “I have no control where my words travelled or will travel. I spoke as a human being, from a remote town, overlooking the sea, in the middle of nowhere. This is not fireworks and champagne for me. Nobody who reveals such a wound feels elated, only release.” You can read her full essay, titled “The 5th House,” here.