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26th Sep 2021

“He didn’t listen to me”: Sophie Ellis-Bextor reveals she was raped at the age of 17

Kat O'Connor

The singer said she felt ashamed and stupid.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has revealed she was raped at the age of 17.

The singer opened up about the devastating ordeal in her book Spinning Plates.

An extract of the singer’s memoir was published in the Mail on Sunday where she discussed the harrowing incident for the first time.

She explained that she had started chatting to a 29-year-old guitarist.

“Let’s call him Jim, shall we? Once back at the flat, Jim actually did show me his history books. I found myself putting one about Napoleon III in my bag. I kept it for a while afterward, but seeing it always made me feel sad and used.”

“You see, 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.  and I felt stupid. I remember staring at Jim’s bookcases and thinking: I just have to let this happen now.”

She explained that after he raped her she felt “odd” and “dazed”. She went to sleep because she was unsure “how to get myself home in the middle of the night.”

The Murder on the Dancefloor singer admitted she felt “grubby” and “unsure” on her way home.

“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?”

She confessed, “My experience was not violent. All that happened was I wasn’t listened to. Of the two people there, one said yes, the other said no, and the yes person did it anyway. The older I’ve become, the more stark that 29-year-old man ignoring 17-year-old me has seemed.”

By sharing her story, Bextor hopes to encourage other women to do the same. She also hopes it will make victims of rape and sexual assault feel less alone.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24-hour helpline on 1800 341 900, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on  1800 77 8888.