SafeLives' response to Mel B's domestic abuse allegations
The brave disclosure by Mel B of years of abuse at the hands of her ex-partner Stephen Belafonte, is a clear example of the way domestic abuse cuts across all sections of society. It is not unique to one particular class or community, and there is no such thing as a ‘typical victim’. The combination of different types of abuse alleged – including physical abuse, coercive control, sexual and financial abuse – demonstrates why domestic abuse is such a devastating, life changing crime. It appears that it was not the first time Belafonte had been abusive towards a partner; it’s time we all stop asking ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ and start asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’.
The allegation that Belafonte isolated Mel B from her friends and family, who felt powerless to help her, reminds us that we are all paralysed by the stigma around domestic abuse; we must all learn to talk about it if we are going to make it stop. We congratulate Mel B on taking the incredibly brave step to make this allegation in the public eye, and hope she can now begin to rebuild her life.