GRAMMY award-winner Duffy revealed this week that she was drugged and raped after being held captive by an attacker.
The 35 year-old singer addressed her disappearance from the spotlight in a poignant post on Instagram, telling her 33,000 followers: “The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine.”
And one woman who can understand the devastating effect rape can have on a woman’s life is 40 year-old Emily Hunt.
Five years ago, she woke up in a London hotel room after being raped by a stranger and has suffered PTSD since.
Speaking to Fabulous, she tells her story…
IN May 2015, on a bright Sunday afternoon, I sat with my dad in a restaurant close to my home, eating lunch and talking about the rest of my life.
I had this huge amount of hope and joy in figuring out what was next for me.
I was newly divorced and my we were talking about the date I was supposed to go on that evening.
We talked too about the sort of job I was looking for, and the interview I had the next day. It was a normal, happy day.
But I never made it to the date and I never made it to the job interview. For a while, it really seemed like I wouldn’t be making it to the rest of my life either.
One moment I was sitting in a sun-filled Italian restaurant having lunch and saying goodbye to my dad before he went to the airport, and the next I was waking up naked and freezing cold in a hotel bed next to a man I’d never seen before. There was nothing in between, just a blank.
It has taken me years to piece together what happened in those missing five hours, but I know now that I was drugged and raped by a stranger
It has taken me years to piece together what happened in those missing five hours, but I know now that I was drugged and raped by a stranger.
I know too that he had taken a one minute-long video of me unconscious and naked to keep forever.
After I finally came to, I gathered up my clothes from the floor and went to hide in the bathroom.
I was confused and afraid. I called a friend who rang the police and I guess we just assumed that things would go on from there like they do on TV: the police would listen to me and doctors would examine me, my attacker would be arrested and charged, there would be a trial and he would end up in jail and that I would go on with my life. I could not have been more wrong.
Because the police did not listen to me. They didn’t take me to get a forensic exam.
My attacker was never charged. There never was a trial. And my life? Everything about my life changed. And I changed that day.
In England and Wales, one in five women has been sexually assaulted.
Even more worrying, 22 per cent of women in the UK either have been drugged themselves and sexually assaulted or know someone who has been.
That figure is terrifying but among women aged between 18 and 24 more than half (51 per cent) have either been drugged and attacked or know someone who has.
My case is far from unique; in fact it is, shockingly, depressingly, almost commonplace.
Speaking out about what happened to me has been a huge part of my being able to recover as has being able to help other victims to realise that they are not alone in this
Last year, 57,600 rapes were reported to the police, but then prosecutors are only charging in 1.7 per cent of those reported rape cases.
That’s even though the majority of uncaught rapists go on to do it again. On average they rape nearly six times over the course of their lives.
Roughly the same proportion of rape victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as veterans of the Vietnam War who saw combat.
And for me PTSD stole the latter half of my 30s from me: it stole my career, it stole my chances at finding the right partner, it stole my ability to understand the world around me and judge people properly, it stole my ability to walk down the street without jumping out of my skin at every small noise, it stole my ability to eat and to sleep, and it stole my mind. It almost stole my life.
Despite asking for it from the start it took about nine months to finally get hold of my toxicology report. What I found broke me.
It showed how the police had ignored what I had to say and from the start didn’t take me seriously, even though there was so much evidence stacked up against my attacker.
I found out for the first time that my attacker had been stone cold sober and that he had Viagra on him.
I discovered too that the police hadn’t even bothered to give the right timeline to the lab.
This matters because most ‘date rape’ drugs metabolise out of the victim’s body very quickly.
What they told the lab was wrong by three hours, and that meant a technician had decided that I had definitely not been drugged.
And because I wasn’t drunk enough for a straightforward consent case – with a blood alcohol content of only twice the legal limit – the CPS decided to not prosecute.
This is despite the CCTV footage in the hotel of me being so unsteady on my feet that I can’t hold myself up.
The police gave every sign of never caring, never bothering and never wanting my attacker to go to jail.
Having PTSD often means being unable to make good decisions in the face of stress and trauma.
Soon afterwards, toxicology report in hand, I booked a room in the same hotel I had woken up in next to that stranger. My plan was to commit suicide.
This is also not unusual: 13 per cent of rape victims attempt suicide and 33 per cent consider it.
I very nearly died, and spent eight days in the hospital where I was finally diagnosed with PTSD and started to get the help I truly needed to get well and start putting my life back together.
It has been a long and hard journey to back from the brink.
The way I describe it now is to say that my PTSD is essentially in remission.
Speaking out about what happened to me has been a huge part of my being able to recover as has being able to help other victims to realise that they are not alone in this.
Every time my story gets out, someone reaches out to me to let me know that hearing my story helped them. And that helps me too.
Now I am finally in a place where I am interviewing for that next amazing job.
And who knows, maybe someday, I’ll even have a boyfriend.
It’s another bright sunny day in London, the sky is blue, and the rest of my life is in front of me.
The CPS previously told The Independent: "We never take lightly the decision to stop a prosecution as this can have a significant impact on a complainant. But if a case is reviewed and found not to satisfy our legal test then we cannot continue it.”
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