Cassie posts first statement since Diddy footage emerged

Singer Cassie has posted her first statement since video emerged showing rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs attacking her.

The star, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, said domestic violence “broke me down to someone I never thought [I] would become”.

The video of the attack in 2016 was released last week by CNN. Ms Ventura had alleged her ex-boyfriend and producer assaulted her in a legal action last year.

Diddy apologised at the weekend, commenting in an Instagram video: “I was disgusted when I did it. I’m disgusted now.”

In her statement, which was posted to Instagram, Ms Ventura thanked her friends, family and the public for their support.

“The outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe now, but this is only the beginning,” she said.

“Domestic Violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become. With a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past.”

“My only ask is that EVERYONE open your heart to believing victims the first time. It takes a lot of heart to tell the truth out of a situation that you were powerless in,” Ms Ventura wrote.

“This healing journey is never ending, but this support means everything to me.”

Last November, Ms Ventura settled a lawsuit against Combs – in which she accused him of rape and sexual trafficking – for an undisclosed sum.

Combs’ lawyer said the settlement was “in no way an admission of wrongdoing”.

In his apology, Mr Combs said: “I went and I sought out professional help. I got into going to therapy, going to rehab. I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I’m so sorry.”

Lawyers for Ms Ventura told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that Diddy’s statement was “more about himself than the many people he has hurt”.

“When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday,” lawyer Meredith Firetog said.

Earlier this week, a model accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2003, the latest in a string of allegations against the rapper and businessman.

Crystal McKinney said in a lawsuit that Mr Combs invited her to his New York studio and plied her with alcohol and marijuana until she became intoxicated.

BBC News has asked representatives of Mr Combs for comment.

Last month, federal authorities raided his homes in Los Angeles and Miami, Florida, in a federal human trafficking investigation.

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