Sophie Ellis-Bextor has spoken out for the first time about being raped as a teenager in her upcoming memoir, Spinning Plates.
Sharing an extract from her book with the DailyMail, the singer revealed that at the age of 17 she lost her virginity when she was sexually assaulted by an older musician. She did not name her alleged attacker, who was 29-years-old at the time.
Now 42-years-old, Sophie says she's speaking up about her rape to give her younger self a "voice."
In the excerpt, the Murder on the Dance Floor singer explains she met the musician at a gig. The pair started talking about a mutual interest in history, which she was studying as part of her A-Levels, and he later invited her back to his apartment to see some of his history books. "[The man] and I started kissing and before I knew it we were on his bed and he took off my knickers," she said, "I heard myself saying 'No' and 'I don't want to', but it didn’t make any difference."
Sophie continued: "He didn’t listen to me and he had sex with me and I felt so ashamed. It was how I lost my virginity and I felt stupid. I remember staring at [the man’s] bookcases and thinking: I just have to let this happen now."
"After it was over, I lay on the bed feeling odd, trying to process what had just happened. He fell asleep and I slept, too, not really knowing how to get myself home in the middle of the night," she wrote in her memoir, "I woke up after a short while and I can remember angrily picking up my clothes from the floor while saying to myself, 'I said No'."
Sophie added, "On the way home I wondered if everyone else on the Tube could tell what had happened to me. I felt grubby, but also unsure about my own feelings as I had no other experience to compare it with.”
Recalling the incident, Sophie admitted that she didn't report the rape, as she didn't think she would have a case against the man. "At the time, the way rape was talked about wasn’t to do with consent," she explained, "I’m a mother of five young men now, and I introduce the concept of consent pretty early."
Speaking about her decision to come forward about the ordeal, Sophie said: "I have thought so much about why I wanted to write about this. My life is happy now and I would not say that I felt overly traumatised at the time, and yet I feel as if the culture that surrounded me – the things I saw and read and the way sex was discussed – made me believe I didn’t have a case."
She continued, "The older I’ve become, the more stark that 29-year-old man ignoring 17-year-old me has seemed."
Sophie's memoir, Spinning Plates, is out on 7 October.
To get help with any of the issues discussed in this article, visit: Rape Crisis England & Wales, Rape Crisis Scotland, or The Rowan (for Northern Ireland). RASASC provides emotional and practical support for survivors, families and friends. For additional support with mental health, visit Mind.
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