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Lily Allen opens up about her own terrifying sexual harassment ordeal

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Kayleigh Dray
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Lily Allen attends the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2018/2019 on March 6, 2018 in Paris, France

“I woke up at 5am because I could feel someone next to me pressing their naked body against my back,” recalls Lily Allen.

Lily Allen has spoken about being the victim of sexually abuse before, but previously said that she was unable to “talk too much [about it] for legal reasons”.

Now, in her memoir My Thoughts Exactly, the singer has, for the first time, recounted the details of her experience with a record industry executive who assaulted her after she had fallen asleep in his hotel bed.

“I woke up at 5am because I could feel someone next to me pressing their naked body against my back,” she writes, as noted by The Guardian.

“I was naked, too. [And] I could feel someone trying to put their penis inside my vagina and slapping my arse as if I were a stripper in a club. I moved away as quickly as possible and jumped out of the bed, full of alarm.

“I found my clothes quickly… and ran out of his room and into my own.”

Allen adds that she did not confront or report the abuse because she thought that no one would have taken her seriously at the time.

“If things went down, I told myself, he’d win,” she writes, adding that at the time she viewed the incident as below a reportable threshold.

“What was the crime? Record industry executive didn’t rape me. Was I supposed to report someone trying it on? (Answer: yes.)”

Allen, who has signed an affidavit with her lawyer detailing the allegation, says that she was prepared to name her assailant in her book: however, her publishers wouldn’t allow her to for legal reasons.

The Smile singer previously said that she isn’t seeking financial compensation from her harasser. Instead, she just wants her voice heard.

“I don’t want money,” she said.

“If it was about that then I would sue in the civil courts and would attach a non-disclosure agreement to it. That’s not what I want.”

Earlier this year, the Smile singer admitted that she is underwhelmed by the impact the #MeToo movement is having on the music industry.

She told Vice: “When people started talking about the #MeToo stuff, what I saw was a lot of men going, ‘not me, I don’t behave like that’, when a lot of men that I do know do behave like that.

“I’ve pulled them up on it, nobody’s done anything. Do you know what I mean? They haven’t changed their behaviour. None of my peers have picked them up on it either.”

“It just doesn’t seem to be [taken] that serious. Nobody’s changing. Everybody’s going, ‘this has happened to me, this is really awful’, [but] what’s happening as a result? Like, oh there’s some public shaming going on, ‘Oh no, oh my god, you’ve been outed on Twitter’. That doesn’t change any of what’s happened.”

Stylist’s own Lucy Mangan, though, is more hopeful for the future – although, like Allen, she admits that we need “a loud, clear, constant recognition of the fact that this truth remains”.

“If we are genuinely going to Move On – by which I mean improve things, build on the work that’s already been done, rather than forgive and forget – everyone needs to try,” she writes. “Including all men.”

Mangan adds: “Instead of a backlash to #MeToo, we need to demand louder, stronger support from all those men – the majority! I know! – who hate the horrors as much as we do. Let’s remind those supporting us to reach out to their less enlightened brethren and educate those who would prefer to remain ignorant. Instead of shouldering the entire burden ourselves, we must enlist more warriors.

“Let’s have proof that it’s #NotAllMen.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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