Mel B calls on Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer to tackle domestic abuse
Mel B has urged Sir Keir Starmer to make tackling domestic violence one of his ‘national missions’ if he becomes prime minister.
The Labour leader said he would make the issue a priority after being grilled by the Spice Girl, a survivor of domestic abuse who is campaigning for change.
Sir Keir said a ‘powerful strand’ within his pledge to ‘make Britain’s streets safe’ is tackling violence against women and girls.
He unveiled five missions last week to improve the nation, including securing high sustained growth and building an NHS fit for the future.
But Mel B, sitting alongside Sir Keir at a Woman’s Aid panel, demanded that he adds a sixth mission: tackling domestic violence.
Key mission: Mel B, 47, has urged Sir Keir Starmer, 60, to make tackling domestic violence one of his ‘national missions’ if he becomes prime minister (pictured together at this week’s Woman’s Aid panel )
Important: The Labour leader said he would make the issue a priority after being grilled by the Spice Girl, a survivor of domestic abuse who is campaigning for change
‘If you’re going to talk about your five main things you have to add another one on that is specifically domestic abuse,’ she said.
As the audience laughed at her sustained questioning, she said: ‘You may well laugh but I’m being b**ody serious.
‘It needs to be a standalone thing that we get educated on from the ground up, inside out.’
Sir Keir said he ‘absolutely will make it a priority’ if he is prime minister, but did not commit to a sixth national mission.
He said ‘end-to-end change’ is needed and ‘tinkering around the edges isn’t going to make a difference’.
Mel B, a patron of the Women’s Aid charity, described herself as a ‘big fan’ of Sir Keir’s and expressed confidence that he will win the next general election.
But she warned him: ‘Keir, I’m holding you to everything. I will come after you, I will.
‘For every survivor and everybody’s voice out there that can’t be heard I am their voice – so watch out. Because I really do like you.’
Cause: As the audience laughed at her sustained questioning, Mel said: ‘You may well laugh but I’m being b**ody serious’
Split: It comes after Mel spoke out about ‘facing her fears’ after being in an ‘horrible and abusive’ marriage for 10 years – something ex Stephen denies (pictured with ex Stephen Belafonte in 2016)
It comes after Mel spoke out about ‘facing her fears’ after being in an ‘horrible and abusive’ marriage for 10 years.
The pop star said she was looking for a fresh start after leaving the relationship and filing for divorce from her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte in 2017.
During the season premiere of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test last month, Mel said she had been living in fear and hoped the programme’s endurance course would help her regain her own power.
Stephen has always vehemently denied he was abusive during the marriage.
During a confessional, Mel said: ‘I ended up being in a very horrible abusive 10 year relationship. I felt worthless, you feel helpless. I’m facing huge fears.’
Explaining her hopes for the series, she continued: ‘I’m just going to bring out that inner person that I hope isn’t dead and gone.’
Early last year, Mel B candidly detailed living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, five years after ending her marriage to Stephen.
The singer split from Stephen, 47, in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – which he denies.
Mel said while some of the memories are so painful her mind has blocked them out, she still suffers from terrible flashbacks that jolt her awake in the night, drenching her in ‘shame, sweat and fear’.
She told The Sun: ‘Nearly five years on I still wake up in the early hours with terrifying fragments of sounds and images flitting into my brain, things I’ve tried to block float to the surface — things that can still make me feel drenched in shame, sweat and fear.’
The Loose Women star talked about how she turned to drugs during her marriage ‘to block out the torment and guilt’.
‘I’d been through so much and sunk so low that my self-esteem was zero, being isolated from my family, I had no one to confide in so I turned to drink and drugs to dull my pain,’ she said.
‘I was completely out of it when I was videoed having sex – one of the most humiliating things that I endured in my abusive relationship.’
Mel said how during the marriage she continued ‘to put on a front as if everything is OK’ in the hope if she pretended, they would ‘enjoy a normal, loving relationship’.
The Spice Girl star said she finds it ‘very disturbing’ she has ‘no clear memory’ of an incident her daughter described to her ghost writer, due to her PTSD blocking out the trauma.
Mel and Stephen secretly married in 2007 and split in 2017.
Bold: Mel, known as Scary Spice, rose to fame as a member of the Spice Girls in the nineties (pictured on stage at The BRIT Awards in 1997)
They share one daughter, Madison Brown Belafonte, 11 – and Mel has two children from previous relationships: Phoenix Chi Gulzar, 24, who she shares with ex husband Jimmy Gulzar and Angel Iris Murphy Brown, 15, who she co-parents with Eddie Murphy.
The mother-of-three claimed she was financially abused during her marriage to Stephen, having no access to her own money.
Mel admitted while she is renowned for being ‘confident and outspoken as Scary Spice’ – and despite feeling ‘at home’ on stage, she believed many may have viewed her as the last person to feel ‘totally trapped and alone’ in her marriage.
For help contact Refuge free 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247 or click here.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
People with PTSD often suffer nightmares and flashbacks to the traumatic event and can experience insomnia and an inability to concentrate.
Symptoms are often severe enough to have a serious impact on the person’s day-to-day life, and can emerge straight after the traumatic event or years later.
PTSD is thought to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, and was first documented in the First World War in soldiers with shell shock.
People who are worried they have PTSD should visit their GP, who could recommend a course of psychotherapy or anti-depressants.
Combat Stress operate a 24-hour helpline for veterans, which can be reached on 0800 138 1619.