Singer Aimee Anne Duffy, 35, more commonly known as Duffy, has shared a harrowing account of being raped, drugged and held captive for four weeks overseas and in her home, in a lengthy post shared to her Instagram account.
The Welsh singer-songwriter, whose debut album, Rockferry, became a bestseller in the UK in 2008, said she was sharing her "dark" story to help "others, whom have suffered the same".
Although she didn't detail when exactly the ordeal occurred, Duffy did say she is only now speaking out after almost 10 years of “hiding”, suggesting the events took place just under a decade ago.
'The presence of something ... helped me stay alive'
The Mercy singer revealed her ordeal in February. This new post, shared to Instagram on Monday, April 6, confirmed that on her birthday, she was drugged at a restaurant, then was continually drugged for another four weeks and taken to a foreign country.
“We are living in a hurting world,” she wrote of the global pandemic. “I am no longer ashamed that something deeply hurt me.”
“I can’t remember getting on the plane and came round in the back of a travelling vehicle,” she wrote.
“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 I was stuck with him for another day, he didn’t look at me, I was to walk behind him, I was somewhat conscious and withdrawn.”
Duffy added that she doesn’t know how she “had the strength to endure those days”, but that the “presence of something … helped me stay alive”.
She eventually escaped by “fleeing”, she recalled, but wrote that her abuser made “veiled confessions" of wanting to kill her.
This, she added, is what has led her to go into hiding, moving house a number of times until she “felt safe”.
Sharing her story
Initially, she was too afraid to share details of the ordeal with anyone, including the police, but ended up telling a female officer after someone threatened to “out her story”.
She was at “high risk of suicide” and has spent “almost 10 years completely alone”, she added. But now, after she sought professional help from a psychologist, she believes she can “leave this decade behind”.
“In hiding, in not talking, I was allowing the rape to become a companion. 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.”
Duffy said she even thought about changing her name and disappearing to another country, believing that the “public disclosure of my story would utterly destroy my life”. Then, she wrote, she realised “hiding my story was destroying my life so much more”.
She adds: “I have been very warned by some I know not to tell you ... some have said I would be scorned by the public, another said I would be called selfish that the rapist is still at large.”
Rape, she wrote, “is like living murder, you are alive, but dead. All I can say is it took an extremely long time, sometimes feeling never-ending, to reclaim the shattered pieces of me.”
Long periods of isolation
In the aftermath of the event, Duffy said she would isolate herself for weeks at a time.
“I would take off my pyjamas and throw them in the fire and put on another set. My hair would get so knotted from not brushing it, as I grieved I cut it all off.”
As the UK and many other countries around world impose strict regulations on self-isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak, Duffy also shared some advice on how she survived that seclusion.
“The brain’s ‘dorsal anterior cingulate cortex’, which registers physical pain, is activated when we are isolated,” she said. “Knowing the mind’s science enables you to manage it.
"And isolation is a small price to pay for saving lives, therefore we must be strong in the face of it. This demands us all, as one, to act for each other; never has mindfulness been so vital as it is now.”
She ended her note with a more positive message.
"When I sing, I feel like I bird," she said, adding that she hopes to "release a body of work someday, though I very much doubt I will ever be the person people once knew”.
Her most recent album, Endlessly, came out in 2010, but last month she released a new song, titled Something Beautiful, which aired on BBC Radio 2.