Women’s Aid groups across Tayside and Fife have welcomed a new video about the devastating impact of domestic abuse starring ex-Spice Girl Mel B.
Cilla Taylor, deputy manager at Perthshire Women’s Aid praised its depiction of domestic violence, but urged viewers to be mindful that abuse can still occur in a relationship without the presence of physical violence.
Trigger warning: This article discusses domestic abuse and includes a video displaying graphic scenes that may be distressing for some viewers.
Cilla explained: “The video has been done really well. It highlights the severity when there is violence in abusive relationships.
“But it’s important to highlight that there doesn’t always have to be physical violence in a relationship for it to be abusive.
“We don’t want people to think that because their relationship isn’t like that and they haven’t been physically hurt, it’s not any less severe.
“The walking on eggshells around your partner, waiting continuously for something to happen, there is a mental impact of that, which is a long process to heal.
“Other forms of abuse are just as real.”
The realities for many
The powerful video – titled Love Should Not Hurt (A Flat Minor) – was directed by and features the music of composer Fabio D’Andrea.
It was inspired by the impact of lockdown on women living with an abusive partner, as well as the increase in homicides during the first weeks of the pandemic.
It was also heavily influenced by the real-life stories of the many women Mel B has heard from since writing about her own 10-year abusive marriage and becoming a patron of Women’s Aid.
Mel B’s ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, denies her allegations.
In the video, singer Mel B plays a woman trying to flee an abusive relationship, with Sam Mackay playing her violent and controlling partner.
It dismantles the myth that it is easy to spot a domestic abuser within your friend group or family.
In the video, the couple portrays a happy relationship in public, with close friends and family seemingly unaware of what is going on behind closed doors.
Cilla continued: “It highlights the difficulties women have when attempting to leave: you can see the use of coercive and abusive behaviours in the video, including those times that appear happy.
“It highlights how people standing on the outside perceive an image of happiness that is being created by the perpetrator.
“He controls what people see, so he’s still using the same controlling behaviours to also control what people on the outside see.”
‘My heart breaks for them’
Mel B says: “This video is very real. Violence and abuse happens everywhere. It touches all of us.
“I’m so incredibly proud to be part of this project because this is a collaboration of three things that are so important in my life. Music, dance and a way to highlight the ever increasing issue of violence towards women.
“I have had my own experiences of abusive relationships but as Patron of Women’s Aid I have spoken to so many other women, listened to what they have gone through and I know how very real the danger is to so many women out there.
“My heart breaks for every single woman and child who suffers from some form of domestic abuse.
“I want this to count for all victims of abuse. I want to help raise awareness, raise money and do anything I can to put a stop to this epidemic.”
Gillian Boland, Depute CEO of Dundee Women’s Aid says Mel’s film is very powerful.
“It illustrates how, in front of everyone, everything can appear harmonious and happy. Victims often love their abuser as well as fear them!
“Domestic abuse can be more than physical and can include emotional, psychological, sexual and financial. There is support here in Dundee and, contact us and one of our experienced practitioners will be available to assist you.”
Domestic abuse in Scotland
- From April 2020 to January 2021, Dundee City Council was found to be the local authority with the highest rate of domestic abuse in Scotland (148 per 10,000 population). Fife was eighth.
- The Scottish Police Authority reported that from April to June 2020, domestic abuse incidents increased by 8.8%; the same time period in 2019 had shown a 1.2% decrease on the previous year.
- Worldwide, one in three women (around 736 million) are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, or sexual violence from a non-partner.
If you have been affected by the topics discussed in this article, support is available. All links below have ‘quick escape’ functions.
Dundee Women’s Aid
Fife Women’s Aid
Perthshire Women’s Aid