Ciara Charteris has revealed she had a ‘decent case’ against the close friend who she says raped her – but the woman she confided in refused to give evidence.
The Poldark actress, 25, recently told how she was raped five years ago by a ‘best friend’ and only spoke out after her rapist became close with the woman she confided in about the ordeal.
In December 2019 Ciara decided to report the alleged rape and was told she had a good chance, however her confidante declined to give evidence. The accused was never charged for the alleged incident.
Discussing her friend’s decision to stay quiet, Ciara told the Telegraph: ‘That was so painful. Her silence was excruciating and what made it worse was she was tweeting #MeToo and supporting a movement that she personally could have helped.’
Strong: Ciara Charteris has revealed she had a ‘decent case’ against the close friend who she says raped her – but the woman she confided in refused to give evidence
Although five years had passed since the ordeal, Ciara was reportedly told she had a case, due to the fact he had text her to say he’d ‘done something wrong’. But without her friend’s evidence it wasn’t enough to secure a charge.
Ciara admitted that she felt anger at the time because she believed she was given more of a grilling by police than the man she was accusing of raping her.
Ciara explained that she put her experience ‘in a box’ and ‘buried it’ and the pain of the experience only rose to the surface when the woman she had confided in grew close to the perpetrator.
Detailing how it has affected her life, she said: ‘For years I suffered shame and loneliness, and blamed myself for not fighting him off. I despised the act of sex, which made having a relationship hard.’
Last month, Ciara penned a candid open letter about the alleged incident, explaining that she chose to stay silent for years, until she began seeing her attacker spending time with her confidant on social media.
Open: The Poldark actress, 25, recently told how she was raped five years ago by a ‘best friend’ and only spoke out after her rapist became close with the woman she confided in about the ordeal
On Friday, she shared a post thanking followers for their support after she told her story.
Taking to Instagram she wrote: ‘Today is exactly 1 month since I released my article @iamarla. To everyone that has liked, followed, shared, commented, messaged. Thank you.
To the incredible people who have reached out about their own experiences, I see you, I believe you, I support you. This past week has been particularly astonishing, but I could not be more grateful for the response and continued support.
It is overwhelming. Our work is not done, yet this is still more then I could have imagined. Truth is power. Love to all. We got this. CC x.’
Thank you: On Friday, she shared a post thanking followers for their support after she told her story
During her detailed post, Ciara said it was one thing dealing with post-traumatic stress from being ‘physically violated’ by someone she trusted, but she felt truly ‘broken’ after her friend ‘turned a blind-eye’ to the situation.
The television star challenged her friend, but was left ‘stunned’ when she blamed her for putting her in a ‘difficult position’ for years.
Ciara recalled ‘saying no numerous times, begging him to get off me and trying to physically pull him off’ throughout the terrifying 2015 attack, which took place after a birthday party.
She wrote: ‘My flight mode was not attuned to protect me from a rapist that had the face of my best friend. So I just shut my eyes and passed out in terrified defeat.’
Ciara said despite going through the horrendous ordeal, it was equally painful to be betrayed by the woman she had opened up to, who struck up a friendship with the accused years later.
Explaining how it affected her, Ciara said: ‘It was one thing to deal with the post-traumatic stress of being physically violated by someone I trusted, but quite another when the person who had stood by me through it all, whom I trusted the most, suddenly decided to turn a blind eye to it. This broke me.’
Time to talk: During her detailed post, Ciara said it was one thing dealing with post-traumatic stress from being ‘physically violated’ by someone she trusted, but she felt truly ‘broken’ after her friend ‘turned a blind-eye’ to the situation
Ciara detailed her journey to finding the strength to speak out about the experience on a blog called I Am Arla – a support network and platform for survivors of rape and trauma – explaining she struggled to say the word ‘rape’ for many years.
The decision was sparked by Ciara’s desire to take some ‘power back’, after the accused infiltrated her social circle and left her being physically sick whenever she thought she had caught sight of him.
Reflecting on the trauma which took place on her friend’s birthday night out, Ciara explained that he was a ‘close friend’ from her youth theatre group who was ‘slightly older’ than her.
She wrote: ‘Although I have struggled to say the word rape out loud for a long time, I knew that’s what had happened.
‘Despite saying no numerous times, begging him to get off me, trying to physically pull him off, my flight mode was not attuned to protect me from a rapist that had the face of my best friend.
‘So I just shut my eyes and passed out in terrified defeat. Only waking later to clean myself up and try and find my bottoms.’
Ciara said at the time she decided not to report the incident but confided in her female best friend about what had happened the following morning, who she claims offered her ‘unwavering support’, as they decided to cut the accused out of their lives.
He did not reach out to them afterwards and Ciara said she believes that this was out of fear she would decide to speak out about what had happened.
But three years later, Ciara was shocked when she saw the friend she had confided in and the accused spending time together on social media.
Speaking out: Ciara has detailed her journey to finding the strength to speak out about the experience on a blog called I Am Arla, which is a support network and platform for survivors of rape and trauma
She said she was confused and looked within to try and understand how she deserved this treatment, which she said is a common trait of Acquaintance Rape.
Although both women apologised and tried to move on from it, just months later she said her friend completely cut her out of her life and decided to form a friendship with the man who Ciara says raped her.
Ciara said the accused, who had previously been out of sight up until now, was suddenly everywhere her former best friend was.
She explained that it was what she needed to finally face to the trauma. They were now mixing in the same professional and social circles.
Ciara had been playing Emma Tregirls in Poldark between 2017 and 2018.
Happy: Ciara is now in a relationship with Scottish actor Nick Nunn
The circumstance encouraged her to give up her ‘unfulfilling’ role as an actress and move to New York to move into the business side of the industry, before returning to London months later feeling strong and ready to move on.
Despite feeling this way, upon her return Ciara said that she began to feel trapped and worried that he would go on to assault someone else.
Detailing her feelings at the time, she said: ‘I started having regular panic and anxiety attacks, thinking I had seen them would make me physically sick, frequently triggering flashbacks to the assault, and resulted in me having to leave my new job.’
She admitted she began feeling suicidal and sought therapy to help. At this point Ciara realised she was protecting him from the consequences and decided to walk into a police station and report the rape in December 2019.
Ciara said that her friend who had supported her at the time refused to give a statement on the case. But Ciara had messages of support from her at the time which she gave to the police as evidence.
Past career: Ciara had been playing Emma Tregirls in Poldark between 2017-2018
In March earlier this year, Ciara was told that the accused would not be charged but she admitted she was ‘unsurprised’ by the outcome of the case, which she admitted did hit her hard.
Following the outcome, Ciara published her blog post in July in the hope of sharing her voice for the ‘better of her community’.
Ciara is now in a relationship with Scottish actor Nick Nunn.
On Tuesday, Ciara re-shared a post from her Poldark co-star Tom York, who played Sam in the BBC period drama, offering his support after she told her story.
She wrote: ‘My Sam. Thank you.’
Before reposting what he had written: ‘My dear friend Ciara recently went public with her story.. of how she was raped five years ago.
Brave: Following the outcome, Ciara published her blog post in July in the hope of sharing her voice for the ‘better of her community’
‘This has been a huge decision for her, an incredibly brave one, and I deeply admire her for it. We first met on the set of Poldark and have been great friends ever since.
‘I love her very much. I am so proud of her, and completely support her in finally releasing herself from the burden of storing all this inside.
‘I hope to anyone else who has suffered rape, Ciara’s story can help by showing, you are not alone, and that it was not your fault.
‘To everyone else.. it is an eye opening account, not only of violation, but of losing those friends closest to you as a result. Please take time to hear her story. I shall leave the rest to Ciara. Link in my bio.’
If you have been affected by this story please call Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 or visit rapecrisis.org.uk for information on local centres.
Support: On Tuesday Ciara reshared a post from her Poldark co-star Tom York, who played Sam in the BBC period drama, offering his support after she told her story