After revealing the heartbreaking reason behind her decade-long absence from music in a February social media post, Grammy-winning singer Duffy is further detailing the harrowing ordeal that derailed her life and career.
In an emotional, lengthy blog post on Sunday, the Welsh “Mercy” singer elaborated on a previous social media post in which she revealed she was “raped, drugged, and held captive over some days.” In the years since the attack, she’s focused on recovery and has stayed away from the limelight.
Now, Duffy is providing more detail about the incident and her healing process, although, like in her last post, she did not reveal the year of the assault or identity of the perpetrator.
“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,” she wrote, adding that she was then taken to a hotel room, where the kidnapper raped her and “made veiled confessions of wanting to kill” her.
“I could have been disposed of by him,” she continued. “I contemplated running away to the neighboring city or town, as he slept, but had no cash and I was afraid he would call the police on me … I do not know how I had the strength to endure those days.”
Finally, Duffy was able to flee. After her escape, “someone I knew came to my house and saw me on my balcony staring into space … I cannot remember getting home.”
Initially, the singer wrote she was too afraid to report the crime. “It didn’t feel safe to go to the police. I felt if anything went wrong, I would be dead, and he would have killed me. 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.”
At some point, Duffy writes that she “told two female police officers during different threatening incidents in the past decade,” adding that her report “is on record” and that “the identity of the rapist should be only handled by the police.”
In the ensuing years after her kidnapping, Duffy writes that she considered legally changing her name so that she could “disappear to another country and maybe become a florist or something, so that I could put the past behind with a new life and not trouble anyone else with it, to carry it alone.”
Gradually, she began to heal with the help of a psychologist without whom “I may not have made it through.” She also moved five times in the immediate three years following the assault, and now feels safe in her current residence.
As for why she chose to share her story, Duffy said she hoped going public might help others going through similar things. “Rape stripped me of my human rights, to experience a life with autonomy from fear. It has already stolen one-third of my life. Deep down I do know it would have been a shame and done such an immense disservice to my existence to just delete myself and forget what I had experienced in music publicly.”
In 2008, Duffy rose to prominence with her debut album Rockferry. It entered the U.K. album charts at No. 1 and became the best-selling album of the year in the country. It sold more than 7 million copies worldwide and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. Her single “Mercy” made her the first Welsh woman to hit No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart since 1983.
Duffy followed up Rockferry with 2010’s Endlessly before announcing she would take an extended break from music. But as her absence stretched on for a decade, fans wondered if her hiatus had turned into a permanent exit from the industry.
As for a possible return to music, Duffy wrote in her essay on Sunday, “When I sing, I feel like a bird. But it’s not what this is directly about. I’m doing this to be freed, for all of me to be freed. What follows remains to be seen.”
She added, “I know this much though, I owe it to myself to release a body of work someday, though I very much doubt I will ever be the person people once knew.”
She ended the essay saying, “I can now leave this decade behind. Where the past belongs. Hopefully no more ‘what happened to Duffy questions,’ now you know … and I am free.”
‘Mercy’ singer Duffy reveals she was ‘raped, drugged, and held captive’
Duffy the Hit at the BRITs