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International Women’s Day: Mel’s Story

Melanie Brown

This International Women’s Day, we’ve teamed up with Women’s Aid Patron and Spice Girl Mel B to speak out about her story of economic and emotional abuse.

Together, we’re raising awareness of the Women’s Aid Live Chat service, which she proudly helped to set up when becoming patron of this incredible charity.

Demand for frontline domestic abuse services continues to remain high during the pandemic, with Women’s Aid revealing they have seen 1.8million new visitors to its online support services over the past year - an increase of over 36%.

Mel’s story

“Economic abuse can happen to anyone, no matter who you are and how much money you have. I know this to my cost. I have been incredibly lucky to earn a lot of money as a Spice Girl and have a career in the theatre and on television but I’ve also worked incredibly hard since I was a teenager. But now, after my ten-year marriage to an emotionally abusive man, most of that money has gone. I have my freedom but everything I worked for financially disappeared and yet – thanks to the legal system – I am still forced to pay maintenance to my ex. I spent a year and a half living back home in Leeds with my mum working even harder to rebuild my life and support my three girls. If it can happen to me, it can happen to any woman.

You look back and you feel a fool to have let this happen. But really you were always just a target. Everything happens very gradually, so you don’t even realise it is happening at the time. You believe they are helping you, but over time I lost access to my own money and couldn’t buy anything without permission. While it looked like I had everything from the outside, I felt completely alone.

Being a Patron for Women’s Aid is beyond important to me, and I now know that I what experienced was part of coercive control and it saddens me every time I am contacted by women who are going through this. It’s heart-breaking. I am so proud to be supporting Avon’s Promise to End Gender Based Violence this International Women’s Day and the launch of the Heart Wallet. The purse is so important, as it will not only help to raise lifesaving funds for Women’s Aid, but that has a QR code inside which leads straight to support information."

Do your bit

Want to make a difference? Treat you or a loved one to our Heart Wallet. Not only do 50% of sales from this gorgeous accessory go to Women’s Aid, they also feature a hidden message with a scannable code direct to the Women’s Aid Live Chat!

Need help & support?

For confidential help and support contact the Women’s Aid Live Chat service at Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and Sat-Sun 10am-2pm.