British singer Rita Ora revealed in a new biography, Hot Right Now, that she had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse at age 14. The "X Factor" judge was attending London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School when she met the unnamed man, then 26 years old. Ora called it her "first relationship" in an interview with British tabloid The Sun.
When the interviewer pointed out that such a sexual relationship is considered abuse, Ora, now 24, became thoughtful.
"It’s child abuse, really, isn’t it?" she said, before adding, "I don’t want to say that I suffered it, because I wanted it. I don’t want to say that I was forced to do it."
"I don’t want people to think I was abused as a kid, but I was definitely more mature than I should have been at 14," Ora told The Sun. The attention "made me feel great," she said. "It's crazy."
Response to Ora's comments has been mixed around the Internet, with perhaps equal parts genuine concern, slut-shaming and accusations of irresponsibility. A spokesperson for the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children told The Daily Mail, "Those in the public eye should think about the effect their words can have on those who look up to them."
By claiming she "wanted" the abuse, Ora's comments on sexual abuse bear a faint similarity to those of The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who was slammed in August for stating that sexual assault victims should take "full responsibility" for their actions. Multiple organizations, including RAINN and Victim Support, responded to Hynde by stating that victims should never have to feel responsible for the law-breaking actions of others.
Ora's biography Hot Right Now, which charts her evolution from Kosovo-born refugee to pop superstar, is set for release Thursday.
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