Katie Thurston of 'Bachelorette' reveals she was raped: 'The justice system failed me'

Former Bachelorette Katie Thurston has revealed that she was raped — and she is sharing her story to help other victims.

“My pain has purpose, my purpose has power, I want to focus on the positive,” she wrote Saturday on Instagram.

The reality star-turned-comedian, who appeared on Season 25 of “The Bachelor” and starred in Season 17 of “The Bachelorette,” explained her decision to make her experience public, writing, “The justice system continues to let down victims every day. I refuse to feel defeated in the strength it took to be an advocate for myself. I hope my experience will help those feel the strength and support they need.”

The 33-year-old did not divulge details, including when she was raped, explaining that “while I’m not ready to share my story, I want to share the valuable resources that saved my life.” Thurston did not specify if this was the same incident she described on “The Bachelorette” as a “situation where there wasn’t consent” that happened about 10 years before the show’s 17th season was taped in 2021.

“I called 911 to report my rape. They sent an officer to take my statement and then drove me to a special medical center to perform a SART exam,” she began. SART refers to a Sexual Assault Response Team, which performs a forensic medical exam to collect evidence of rape. Thurston said she was accompanied by a nurse and an advocate, whom she described as “kind,” “nurturing” and “patient” people who “thoroughly explained the process” and guided her through it.

Thurston underwent STD testing, was given emergency contraception medication, antibiotics and post-exposure medications to prevent HIV infection. Her entire treatment, including therapy, was provided at “no cost,” regardless of her insurance status, she wrote.

She praised San Diego for their online SART examination tracker, which allowed her to follow the four-month progress of her exam as it was analyzed and sent to law enforcement. Thurston met with an “amazing” sexual assault therapist and connected with an advocate who was available to her 24/7.

“I did everything I should have done as a victim of rape,” she wrote. “Here are my texts, my calls, my photos, my videos, names, witnesses, locations, social media, time stamps, surveillance footage, DNA, my body.”

Even so, Thurston said, her case was “stopped.” She did not specify why.

“The justice system failed me,” she wrote. “And continues to fail thousands every single day. But do not give up.”

Thurston, who has also appeared on “Bachelor in Paradise” and “FBoy Island,” took the time to recognize RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, which she raised over $9,000 for in 2023; the California Victims Compensation Board, which reimbursed the cost of her medications; and the book “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller, which she praised for helping her navigate the legal system and called a must-read for “every single teenager.”

“Be your biggest advocate,” she wrote. “You are valued, you are strong, I believe you.”

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