Mariella Frostrup could have used her column to support victims of abuse, says Refuge


It is disappointing that someone in the position of Mariella Frostrup would treat disclosure of abuse so flippantly, in this case belittling the concerns of a victim specifically seeking her advice and potentially discouraging other readers from getting help.

Domestic abuse takes many devastating forms – physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, among others – it is often hidden, it should always be taken seriously. A pattern of behaviour designed to control and in many cases, as with this one, isolate victims, abuse often becomes more frequent and severe over time. It can begin at any stage of a relationship, but at Refuge, we see all too often the risk increase when a victim attempts to leave her abuser.

Mariella could have better used her column to offer victims across the country essential information and support. ‘Simply stop allowing him to aggravate you’ encapsulates many of the obstacles and attitudes victims come up against time and again when talking about their experiences and navigating the criminal justice system.

It is crucial that anyone who suspects a colleague, friend or relative is experiencing abuse knows how to approach and assist them. This includes first and foremost believing her, reassuring her that it is not her fault, not judging her, letting her know that you are there and that specialist support like that offered by Refuge is available too.

Harrassment, control and isolation are not the hallmarks of just a ‘bad affair’.

For more support and information visit our web page on helping someone you care about.