Poldark's Ciara Charteris, 25, says she was raped five years ago

Poldark actress Ciara Charteris, 25, says she was raped five years ago by a ‘best’ friend but chose to stay silent until she realised the woman she confided in about attack had become close to her abuser

  • Ciara has candidly detailed her experience on survivors blog called I Am Arla
  • She said she kept quiet about the ordeal which happened in 2015 for years
  • Ciara said she was raped by a ‘friend’ during a night out for her friend’s birthday 
  • She didn’t report it to the police but told her female friend about it the next day
  • They vowed to cut him out of their lives but three years later her friend reconnected with him
  • His presence in their group was unbearable for Ciara who decided to report the incident to the police in December 2019
  • The accused was never charged for the alleged incident 
  • 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 

Poldark star Ciara Charteris has told how she was raped five years ago by a ‘best’ friend and only spoke out after the accused became close with the woman she confided in about the ordeal.

The actress, 25, penned a candid open letter about the alleged incident, explaining that she chose to stay silent for years, until she began seeing her abuser socialising with her confidant on social media.

Ciara said it was one thing dealing with post-traumatic stress from being ‘physically violated’ by someone she trusted, but she felt ‘broken’ after her friend turned a blind-eye to the situation.

Ciara, who didn’t report the apparent attack to the police at the time and only told her close friend, said she ‘struggled to say the word rape out loud’ for many years.

Time to talk: Poldark actress Ciara Charteris has said she was raped five years ago by a close friend in a candid open letter about the experience

During the post Ciara recalled ‘saying no numerous times, begging him to get off me and trying to physically pull him off’ throughout the terrifying 2015 attack.

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.’

Ciara 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. 

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.

Candid: Ciara, 25, who has since taken a step back from acting following the alleged incident, said she stayed silent about the ordeal for years until the accused befriended her closest confidant (pictured in Poldark in 2017)

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 that 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.

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.

Ciara challenged her friend however she was left ‘stunned’ when her friend blamed her for putting her in a ‘difficult position’ for years. 

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

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 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.

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

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