Blondie lead vocalist Debbie Harry has detailed the horrifying moment she was raped at knifepoint in her own home.
Harry, who was living with her then-boyfriend and Blondie bandmate Chris Stein, has revealed as part of her new memoir ‘Face It’ that the couple were followed back to their New York home in the 1970s and robbed by an armed man.
In the early ’70s, when both Harry and Stein were on their way home from a concert, a man pinned them up at knifepoint and led them into their apartment. The man, searching for drugs and possessions of value, first tied up Stein and then Harry before ransacking their home. “he poked round searching for anything worth anything,” Harry explains in an interview with The Sun. “He piled up the guitars and Chris’s camera and then he untied my hands and told me to take off my pants.”
She added: “He fucked me. And then he said, ‘Go clean yourself’.”
Explaining the situation further, Harry writes in her memoir: “I can’t say that I felt a lot of fear. In the end, the stolen guitars hurt me more than the rape,” in an expert published by The Guardian who also interviewed the 74-year-old around the book’s release. “I mean, I was angry and I felt victimised,” she explained in the interview. “I wasn’t beaten or harmed physically, it was all emotional or mental. Being raped – or fucked – by some stranger against my will at knifepoint, you know…”
She added: “It wasn’t a happy moment in my life, but I really, seriously, empathise with women who are beaten. That would be something that [would lead to] emotional ramifications for the rest of my life. But this doesn’t.”
In the same interview, while trying to explain her thought process around the rape, Harry admitted that she finds her viewpoint quite difficult to process: “It is ludicrous,” she added, “and it is kind of funny that I would say it, but, truly, I wasn’t physically molested. Afterwards, I was with Chris, and I was, you know… I went on with my life.
“But as I say, I wasn’t beaten or assaulted and I think that, coupled with being sexually violated, is truly awful. Then you are really made to feel powerless. I’m sort of wondering if I should have left it out [of the book], but it’s part of the story,” she added in a moment of reflection. “I can’t explain it,” she continued.
Pressed further and asked is he believed the incident had any lasting effect on her, Harry answered: “I didn’t want it to. I just said: ‘I’m not hurt, I’m alive, I’m doing what I want to do, I have a wonderful boyfriend’ – and that was it. I had to consider what was important to me, and being a victim was really not who I wanted to be.”
It is not known if the incident occurred before or after the band had shot to fame, nor is it apparent if the pair reported the incident to the police. Harry did admit that she avoided any counselling to deal with the incident, instead Stein became the supported influence and, in her own words, “we moved on.”