Injuries from abuse can last a lifetime

MEL B says it’s paramount to raise awareness about sexual consent – because when it’s violated, the results can be devastating.

Despite her wealth and fame, former Spice Girls star felt she wouldn’t be believed after it happened to her – that was the case with many victims.

The Spice Girls star feels people won't believe she was abused


The Spice Girls star feels people won’t believe she was abusedCredit: Shutterstock
Mel is a patron of Women's Aid and appeared in a powerful short to highlight the reality of domestic violence.


Mel is a patron of Women’s Aid and appeared in a powerful short to highlight the reality of domestic violence.Credit: @ someseedierence / Women’s Aid

Now, as part of The Sun’s #NoMeansNo campaign, the 46-year-old singer and herself daughter Phoenix, 22 years old, are bravely sharing their own story after heartbreaking footage went viral on social media of a young woman accusing a top soccer player of sexual assault.

Phoenix, who has witnessed some of the worst attacks on her mother, goes to school to teach children about consent.

According to new research by Women’s Aid and YSL Beauty, domestic abuse has increased by a staggering 60% since the pandemic hit.

Here Mel, patron of Women’s Aid, explains why it’s important to take action now.

“This weekend, I heard the traumatic recording of a woman allegedly being raped by a man she clearly trusted.

These situations can happen to any woman – although in my case the situation was quite different.

For ten years, I went through an emotionally and physically abusive marriage that I finally left in 2017.

Things that happened between me and my ex [Stephen Belafonte] which I still don’t fully remember to this day because trauma from abuse can last a lifetime.

But almost five years on, I still wake up in the early hours with spooky sounds and images reverberating through my brain.

Things I’ve tried to prevent from coming to the surface – things that can still make me feel drenched with shame, sweat, and fear.

I know that many women who are raped and abused in relationships feel helpless and invisible, which is why I speak out.

When I finally left my marriage, I decided to risk my career by writing a book, Brutally Honest, about my experiences.

My ex has tricked me into saying that no one will believe me, that I have no proof, and because alcohol, drugs, and sex are all part of our relationship, I will become the bad guy for life.

But for a woman who supports Girl Power, I feel like I have to break my shell because I know that what happened to me is happening to millions of other people.

Women’s Aid


If you need help, visit for support and information, including Aid Women’s Live Chat (8am – 6pm weekdays, 10am – 6pm weekends)

There is a problem. The great nostalgia from that relationship meant I couldn’t remember. My writer had to put a lot of things together from chatting with close friends, family and colleagues to filling in the gaps in my memory.

I was horrified to learn what my daughter, Phoenix, had witnessed. Knowing what my daughter saw killed me. Knowing that at the time I wrote my book I had no clear recollection of that night, I was deeply troubled.

I’ve been through so much and so immersed that my self-esteem is zero. Isolated by my family, with no one to confide in, I turned to alcohol and drugs to relieve the pain.

I didn’t realize, until after my book was published, that so many women followed this exact pattern. Drugs and drinks are a form of self-medication to relieve torment, shame, and guilt. I was completely exhausted from being videotaped having sex – one of the most humiliating things I’ve endured in my abusive relationship.

I have met a lot of women through Women’s Aid who have experienced the same thing with them.


Women who were drugged and had sex with other men, women who felt they had to go through the worst situations out of fear of the consequences or because they didn’t really know what they were doing. You feel like no one believes your story.

You assume everything is fine because you don’t have control over anything, and there’s even a part of you that believes that if you continue to fit in with everything, things will change and you’ll enjoy a better life. normal, loving relationship.

I don’t know how many women have been through this in their lifetime. All I know is that when I speak, I will hear one story after another that reflects my experience.

And in an ugly situation like this, it once again highlights the problem of domestic abuse of women.

We need to talk about it, deal with it and do everything in our power to get justice done. “

Women's Aid movie titled Love Should Not Hurt, Mel B plays a woman trying to get out of an abusive relationship


Women’s Aid movie titled Love Should Not Hurt, Mel B plays a woman trying to get out of an abusive relationshipCredit: Aid to Women
Phoenix, who has witnessed some of the worst attacks on her mother, visits schools to teach children about consent


Phoenix, who has witnessed some of the worst attacks on her mother, visits schools to teach children about consentCredit: Getty

What is consent?

CONFUSED on consent? Here, Women’s Aid explains the issue. . .

  • Consent is when each party agrees to – and has the freedom and ability to consent – to sex.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • If either party continues after consent has been withdrawn, that is sexual assault or rape.
  • Consent is required for all sexual or contact activities, whether direct or actual.
  • Consent may be impaired if the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • People under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sex, even if they say they want to.
  • You can be raped or sexually assaulted if you are romantically or married to that person.
  • Rape is rape, no matter how many times you’ve had consensual sex.
  • Sexual violence can come in many forms and can include coercing and sharing someone’s sexual images online – what is commonly referred to as “revenge porn”. Injuries from abuse can last a lifetime

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