"My experience was not violent." Sophie Ellis-Bextor has spoken about her rape at 17.

Trigger warning: This post deals with rape and sexual abuse, so may be triggering for some readers.

In an extract from her new memoir, Spinning Plates, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has revealed she was raped when she was 17 years old.

The Murder On The Dancefloor singer said the assault took place in at the apartment of a guitarist, who was 29.

In her book, Ellis-Bextor describes how she met the musician - who she refers to as 'Jim' - at a gig, while she was studying for her high school exams. 

She said the 29-year-old guitarist had invited her back to his flat to see his history books.

Watch: Students assaulted at 14 speak out against rape culture in schools. Post continues below.

Video via The Project

"Jim and I started kissing and before I knew it we were on his bed and he took off my knickers," she wrote. "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... I remember staring at Jim’s bookcases and thinking: ‘I just have to let this happen now’. It was how I lost my virginity and I felt stupid."

Ellis-Bextor, who is now 42, said the assault had left her feeling confused, as her experience didn't match-up with the public perception of rape in the 1990s - the misconceptions that make it difficult for survivors to seek help.

Image: Getty 


She 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?"

Image: Instagram/ @sophieellisbextor 

She said that she wanted to talk about her attack in order to call attention to the issues around consent and make it clear "where the line between right and wrong lies."

"I have thought so much about why I wanted to write about this," the star wrote in the extract.

"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.

"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."

Ellis-Bextor has experienced panic attacks since the assault, crediting TV hypnotist Paul McKenna with helping her deal with her anxiety.


Image: Instagram/ @sophiellisbextor 

"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," she said.

The star has not identified Jim, who she said is now in a long-term relationship.

Ellis-Bextor has been married to Richard Jones - guitarist of The Feeling - since 2005. The couple share five sons together. 

Image: Instagram/ @sophieellisbextor 

Following her assault, she said she had been careful to introduce the concept of consent to her sons early.


Image: Instagram/ @sophieellisbextor 

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

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

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault. Help is available. Call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic, Family Violence Counselling Service 24/7 on  1800 737 732.

Feature image: Getty

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