At the end of February, Welsh singer Duffy posted a single black and white image onto her Instagram page with a long caption, revealing that she disappeared from the public eye because she was “raped and drugged and held captive over some days.” On Sunday night, she published a long essay giving more detail to the harrowing events that transpired—she writes that was drugged on her birthday at a restaurant, kidnapped and drugged for an additional four weeks and then trafficked to a foreign country, where she was raped before the assailant brought her back home—as well as how she felt in the aftermath.
Before describing the extent of the abuse, she begins with an explanation of her delay, writing that she was scared of coming forward because many people instructed her not to:
“I have been very warned by some I know not to tell you what I am about to tell you. Some alluded that I would pretty much be finished in whatever chances I have to make music publicly again, some have said I would be scorned by the public, another said I would be called selfish that the rapist is still at large.”
She also says that she was worried that being raped would somehow mean she would never find love:
“It was being told by a male, I had come to know and really like as a friend, that “most men would run a mile if they knew you were raped”. I crumbled. I felt very hurt for a few days and reflected a lot and I thought, one night, like an epiphany, that the knowledge of my truth ‘makes me no less lovable’. The dream of love did die, I finally realised it didn’t need to. And just like a light came on I realised ‘I know what it is to hurt, therefore I know what it is to be human’.”
Then she details “what happened to Duffy” in an attempt to curb all “what happened to Duffy” questions:
It was my birthday, I was drugged at a restaurant, 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. I was stuck with him for another day, he didn’t look at me, I was to walk behind him, I was somewhat conscious and withdrawn. I could have been disposed of by him. I contemplated running away to the neighbouring city or town, as he slept, but had no cash and I was afraid he would call the police on me, for running away, and maybe they would track me down as a missing person. I do not know how I had the strength to endure those days, I did feel the presence of something that helped me stay alive. I flew back with him, 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.
The perpetrator drugged me in my own home in the four weeks, I do not know if he raped me there during that time, I only remember coming round in the car in the foreign country and the escape that would happen by me fleeing in the days following that. I do not know why I was not drugged overseas; it leads me to think I was given a class A drug and he could not travel with it.
Duffy writes that she did not go to the police, for fear that her rapist would kill her. She also claims that she did eventually tell two female police officers about her kidnapping and rape, during two terrifying incidents that followed: Once, when someone threatened to “out” her story. And another time when three men broke into her home.
“Anyone cynical about what I am doing—please don’t be. I have no control where my words travelled or will travel. I speak as a human being, from a remote town, overlooking the sea, in the middle of nowhere,” she writes near the end of the piece. “This is not fireworks and champagne for me. Nobody who reveals such a wound feels elated, only release.”
Read the full essay here.