‘Murdered by my boyfriend’ is a BBC Three drama which was first aired at the end of June, and it tells the true story of a girl, Ashley, that falls in love as a teenager. Tragically, as time went by and the relationship developed, her partner became abusive, and she was eventually murdered in front of their young daughter.
It is a sad truth that situations like this are all too common, and relationships like Ashley’s are being played out across the country every day. This BBC production made a great effort to bring this fact to light and open people’s eyes about the experiences and situations that domestic abuse victims have to go through everyday. A lot of relationships begin with perceived love and safety, but they can tragically turn around quickly as a partner begins to display a pattern of power and control that escalates in to emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.
The drama went a long way to highlight the terrible factors of abuse that the general public may not consider, such as checking text messages and social media, or telling a partner what they can and cannot wear. Some people may not have considered these actions abuse before watching the show, but the characters were able to deftly show how behaviour like this is not usual, and should not be tolerated in any relationship, and how it can often escalate in to physical violence.
In addition to displaying the cruel patterns of behaviour of the abuser, the drama was also able to show the detrimental effect on the attitude and personality of Ashley. As her relationship progressed, and her abuse built in intensity and severity, Ashley changed from a happy and confident young woman, to someone who became withdrawn, depressed and frightened. This provided a chance for people to recognise signs of behaviour change in someone they may know.
In the UK it is estimated that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, and 16 – 24 year olds are at an even higher risk. Additionally, abusive behaviour will often escalate, and 2 women a week are killed as a result of domestic violence. ‘Murdered by my Boyfriend’ serves to dramatically illustrate the abusive patterns of behaviour that could lead to such a tragedy, and forces people to recognise these patterns in their own lives, or in the lives of people they know, that they might otherwise have passed by.
If anyone recognises any of these behaviours, and is looking for help and advice, we encourage you to call the 24-hour All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline 0808 80 10 800.