24 May 2024

Cassie posts first statement since Diddy footage

5:51 am on 24 May 2024
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Cassie (L) and Sean 'Diddy' Combs aka Puff Daddy attend the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City.   Mike Coppola/Getty Images for People.com/AFP (Photo by Mike Coppola / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Singer Cassie says domestic violence "broke me down". Photo: MIKE COPPOLA

By Steven McIntosh, BBC entertainment reporter

Singer Cassie has posted her first statement since video emerged showing rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs attacking her.

The star, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, said domestic violence "broke me down to someone I never thought I would become".

The video of the attack in 2016 was released last week by CNN. Ventura had alleged her ex-boyfriend and producer assaulted her in a legal action last year.

Diddy apologised at the weekend, commenting in an Instagram video: "I was disgusted when I did it. I'm disgusted now."

In her statement, which was posted to Instagram, Ventura thanked her friends, family and the public for their support.

"The outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe now, but this is only the beginning," she said.

"Domestic Violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become. With a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past."

"My only ask is that EVERYONE open your heart to believing victims the first time. It takes a lot of heart to tell the truth out of a situation that you were powerless in," Ventura wrote.

"This healing journey is never ending, but this support means everything to me."

Last November, Ventura settled a lawsuit against Combs - in which she accused him of rape and sexual trafficking - for an undisclosed sum.

Combs' lawyer said the settlement was "in no way an admission of wrongdoing".

In his apology, Combs said: "I went and I sought out professional help. I got into going to therapy, going to rehab. I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I'm so sorry."

Lawyers for Ventura told the BBC's US partner CBS News that Diddy's statement was "more about himself than the many people he has hurt".

"When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday," lawyer Meredith Firetog said.

Earlier this week, a model accused Sean "Diddy" Combs of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2003, the latest in a string of allegations against the rapper and businessman.

Crystal McKinney said in a lawsuit that Combs invited her to his New York studio and plied her with alcohol and marijuana until she became intoxicated.

BBC News has asked representatives of Combs for comment.

Last month, federal authorities raided his homes in Los Angeles and Miami, Florida, in a federal human trafficking investigation.


Where to get help:

Sexual Violence

NZ Police

Victim Support 0800 842 846

Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape Prevention Education

Empowerment Trust

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): 04 801 6655 - push 0 at the menu

Safe to talk: a 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors, support people and those with harmful sexual behaviour: 0800044334

Male Survivors Aotearoa

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) 022 344 0496

Family Violence

Women's Refuge:(0800 733 843

It's Not OK 0800 456 450

Shine: 0508 744 633

Victim Support: 0800 842 846

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): 04 801 6655 - push 0 at the menu

The National Network of Family Violence Services NZ has information on specialist family violence agencies.

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