Sophie Ellis-Bextor says she was raped by a musician when she was 17

·Contributor
·3 min read
Sophie Ellis-Bextor reveals she was assaulted as a teenager in her new book 'Spinning Plates'. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor reveals she was assaulted as a teenager in her new book 'Spinning Plates'. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has revealed she was raped by a musician she met when she was 17, in an extract from her new book Spinning Plates published by the Mail on Sunday.

The 42-year-old singer said the assault took place after she met up with a guitarist — whom she gives the alias Jim — at a gig, during the early days of her own career in the music industry.

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She wrote: "Jim and I started kissing and before I knew it we were on his bed and he took off my knickers. I heard myself saying ‘no’ and ‘I don’t want to’, but it didn’t make any difference.

"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."

Watch: Sophie Ellis-Bextor says family love dancing to relieve stress

The Murder on the Dancefloor singer said she has no intention of identifying Jim, who she said is now in a long-term relationship.

She wrote that she was motivated to reveal her experience in order to highlight issues around consent and make it clear "where the line between right and wrong lies".

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Ellis-Bextor said: "I felt grubby, but also unsure about my own feelings as I had no other experience to compare it with.

"At the time, the way rape was talked about wasn’t to do with consent – it was something you associated with aggression. 

"But no one had pinned me down or shouted at me to make me comply, so why should I feel so violated?"

Sophie Ellis-Bextor rose to fame in 2001 after the release of her most famous track 'Murder on the Dancefloor'. (PA Images via Getty Images)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor rose to fame in 2001 after the release of her most famous track 'Murder on the Dancefloor'. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Ellis-Bextor said she has experienced panic attacks throughout her life since the assault, triggered by situations in which she couldn't "walk away without being conspicuous".

She credits TV hypnotist Paul McKenna with providing coping strategies which have since allowed her to keep her anxieties and feelings of panic at bay.

Read more: Olly Murs reveals panic attack after forgetting lyrics on TV

She wrote that she has spoken about her attack today as she believes she will "be heard now" in a way she wouldn't have been if she had spoken out 25 years ago when the attack happened.

Ellis-Bextor said: "I think if you experience something you know is wrong, then being brave and honest about it helps, and if anyone else has been through something similar, it might help us all talk about it."

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been married to The Feeling bassist Richard Jones since 2005. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been married to The Feeling bassist Richard Jones since 2005. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Ellis-Bextor has been married to Richard Jones — bassist of The Feeling — since 2005 and the couple have five sons together.

She said she introduced the concept of consent to her sons "pretty early", shaped by her own horrible experiences in the 1990s. 

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"I want to raise considerate, kind people who can take other people’s feelings into account," the star wrote in the extract. 

"I want them to actively want the other person to be happy, too, rather than just stopping because they have to."

Spinning Plates by Sophie Ellis-Bextor is due to be released on 7 October.

Watch: Sophie Ellis-Bextor talks about her lockdown kitchen discos

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