After sharing in a now-deleted Instagram post that she had been kidnapped and raped, U.K. singer Duffy, who won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2009, has opened up in a lengthy essay about the details of the experience that resulted in her decade-long absence from music and public life. While the singer does not specify when the incident occurred or at the hands of whom, she provides a specific, disturbing account of the ordeal, which spanned weeks — and haunted her for years.
The world's current state of shared isolation inspired the singer to further open up about her trauma, given the she has been in a similar secluded state for the better part of a decade. Mostly, however, she's sharing the experience to be "free" in hopes of starting a new chapter of her life.
"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 traveling vehicle. I was put into a hotel room and the perpetrator returned and raped me," she wrote, later adding, "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."
Sometime after they flew back to the U.K., the singer escaped. She says she went on to move five times in three years, never feeling safe. For similar reasons, she never aggressively pursued an investigation.
"I could not risk being mishandled or it being all over the news during my danger. I really had to follow what instincts I had," she wrote. "I have told two female police officers, during different threatening incidents in the past decade, it is on record."
Now, the singer is attempting to focus on what's next — a difficult feat with the world sheltering from a pandemic. However, she's been gradually returning to music. Back in March, the singer leaked her first song since "Whole Lotta Love" and "Dear Heart" in 2015 to Jo Whiley to play on her BBC Radio 2 show, "Something Beautiful."
"I don’t plan to release it, I just thought a little something might be nice for people if they are at home, on lockdown," she wrote in a note to Whiley.
"I / Can't take the first steps to your love / So it leaves me only dreaming / Of something beautiful," she sings in the chorus.
Despite this, the singer does not have any immediate career plans. She's just ready to get some semblance of her life back.
"I can now leave this decade behind. Where the past belongs," she ends the essay. "Hopefully no more 'what happened to Duffy' questions, now you know … and I am free."
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.