‘Believe victims the first time’ — Cassie Ventura opens up after video of Diddy attacking her is released

‘Believe victims the first time’ — Cassie Ventura opens up after video of Diddy attacking her is released

Her case highlights why victims of assault should be believed the first time they speak up.
24 May, 2024

Singer Cassie Ventura issued her first statement after a hotel surveillance video showing her being attacked by former partner rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs was obtained and released by CNN. In 2023, Ventura sued Diddy for abuse and rape, among other things, but the matter was settled for undisclosed terms.

“Thank you for all of the love and support from my family, friends, strangers and those I have yet to meet. The outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe now, but this is only the beginning,” Ventura wrote on Instagram.

The singer emphasised that “domestic violence is THE issue” and it broke her down to someone she never thought she would become.

“With a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past,” she said.

Ventura urged everyone to open their hearts “to believing victims the first time” because it takes a lot of courage to be honest about a situation one is powerless in. She offered support to those still living in fear and asked others to do the same.

“Reach out to your people, don’t cut them off. No one should carry this weight alone,” she said.

According to Reuters, The Color Purple actor Taraji P Henson sent a message with hearts and prayer hands, while fellow vocalist Chloe Bailey wrote “We love you so much Cassie.”

In the surveillance video from 2016, the rapper appears to grab the R&B vocalist as she waits by an elevator in a California hotel. Clad only in a towel, he throws her to the floor, kicking her repeatedly before dragging her toward a hallway, the video shows.

Ventura sued Diddy in 2023, accusing him of serial physical abuse, sexual slavery and rape during a 10-year professional and romantic relationship in which he controlled her through intimidation, drugs and alcohol.

The parties settled the matter the following day for undisclosed terms. Representatives for Diddy said that the settlement was “in no way an admission of wrongdoing.”

Last week, Diddy posted an apology after the video of him assaulting Ventura went viral.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life but sometimes you gotta do that. I was f***** up. I hit rock bottom and I make no excuses,” Diddy said in the video posted on his Instagram page. “My behaviour on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now.”

It is important to note that Ventura’s lawsuit was one of at least four civil complaints that recently levelled sexual assault allegations against Diddy. However, people refused to believe Ventura when she came out against the rapper and instead opted to believe his narrative.

In a statement issued last December, Diddy defended himself against what he described as “sickening allegations” made by “individuals looking for a quick payday”. “Let me be absolutely clear — I did not do any of the awful things being alleged,” he said, adding he would fight to clear his name.

This statement, of course, came before the video evidence which clearly showed that Ventura was in fact not in fact “looking for a quick payday” and was ‘actually’ a victim.

Often, it isn’t even about believing so much as it is about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Ventura, Diddy’s other victims, and many, many people (both men and women) who suffer domestic violence are not even afforded the benefit of the doubt. Like Ventura said, “open your heart to believing victims the first time”.

We need to change society’s propensity to not believe women and afford them the benefit of the doubt instead of pushing the burden of proof entirely on them. To have indisputable evidence in cases of assault is not only difficult but very rare. Even in Ventura’s matter, the evidence was released years after it was caught on camera, but more importantly, it is often not possible to have such damning evidence in the first place.

Victims of abuse, especially women, need to be heard and supported, which can only happen by shifting our cultural mindset to prioritise empathy and belief. By doing so, we create a safer and more just environment where survivors feel empowered to come forward and seek justice.


Taj Ahmad May 24, 2024 05:26pm
As singer or artist or in any show business, we should respect each other’s as team mates. Let’s be the first to apologize to each other’s and be good and towards each other’s.