“Mercy” singer Duffy revealed her musical absence was due to being “raped and drugged and held captive”
Trigger warning: This post discusses rape.
Soul-pop singer Duffy noticeably retreated from the public sphere after catapulting to fame with her 2008 hit “Mercy.” In an Instagram post on Tuesday, February 25th, the Welsh musician revealed the mystery behind her decade-long absence, writing, “I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days.”
Duffy didn’t reveal any details about her abduction or her captor—nor does she have to. Rather, she explained why she decided to break her silence now.
“You can only imagine the amount of times I thought about writing this,” she posted. “The way I would write it, how I would feel thereafter. Well, not entirely sure why now is the right time, and what it is that feels exciting and liberating for me to talk. I cannot explain it. Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why. A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak.”
In her Instagram post, Duffy wrote that the pain of her abduction, and her subsequent recovery, were too intense for her to make a public return to music.
“Of course I survived. 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. You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain? I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke.”
Now, fans are coming out in droves to express their encouragement and support for Duffy, as well as her decision to share her story publicly.
The singer didn’t reveal the identity of the journalist who contacted her, but she noted that she’ll be posting “a spoken interview” in the coming weeks. She also invited her followers to ask her any questions they may have, which she’ll try to address in the interview. She ended her post by thanking her fans for their “kindness over the years,” and asked for that kindness and respect to continue in the wake of her announcement.
“Please respect this is a gentle move for me to make, for myself, and I do not want any intrusion to my family,” she wrote. “Please support me to make this a positive experience.”
As the fourth best-selling album of 2008, Duffy’s debut record Rockferry was an unmitigated success — the singer was nominated for three Grammy awards in 2009, and won the award for Best Pop Vocal Album that year. Her second album, 2010’s Endlessly, was not as critically acclaimed as her first, and she took an official hiatus from music in 2011. Since then, Duffy’s only major public appearance was in the 2015 film Legend, in which she portrayed the American soul singer Timi Yuro.
We, and so many others, are sending our love and support to Duffy as she continues to recover.
If you are a sexual assault survivor and need help, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to speak to a trained counselor. You can also chat online with a counselor here. Both services are available 24/7.
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