Mel B Delivers a Powerful Speech on Domestic Abuse at the Tory Party Conference
Mel B gave a powerful speech as a patron and representative for the charity, Women Aid
For decades, Mel B has been the cornerstone of the Brit-pop supergroup, the Spice Girls. For those who don’t know, each Spice Girl had its own character and façade. For Mel B, she was known as Scary Spice: a tough, outspoken individual who appears to be confident and dominant. It came as quite a shock, then, to discover that Melanie Brown has been a victim of domestic violence during her 10-year marriage to Stephen Belafonte. Now, Mel B is a passionate campaigner for victims of domestic abuse and violence and is proving that anyone can fall victim to abuse, regardless of public perception.
“I’m probably the last person you would expect to find at a Tory Party conference,” says Mel B, breaking the ice. “I am not here because I am Mel B, Scary Spice from the Spice Girls,” she said to the conference. “I am here because I am Melanie Brown MBE.” Mel B was speaking as a representative of the charity, Women’s aid, in an event organised by the Sun Newspaper. The singer and now reality show judge became a patron of the charity in 2018 and since has been fronting some major campaigns.
Mel B publicly shared her experiences after the release of her 2018 memoir, Brutally Honest. The book was a powerful reminder that anyone is susceptible to abuse, as it documented the horrific long-term physical, sexual, verbal, and financial abuse from her ex-husband, film producer, Stephen Belafonte. Despite Mel B’s daughters corroborating the stories, Stephen still denies claims.
“We need to reform everything, the courts, the police, even GPs, even people in your work environment, HR, you need to have a safe place where you can go without any shame and know the warning signs,” said Mel B. The UK’s leading domestic violence charities are particularly concerned with the rise of domestic violence cases and the decline in funding. Now, in the midst of a harsh cost of living crisis, cases are expected to have a sharp incline. Studies show that household income has a considerable impact on the prevalence of abuse. Therefore, the cost of living crisis is a ticking time bomb.
Covid-19 also played a large part in the rise in abuse across the country. The charity, MSI Repoductibe Choices saw a 33% rise in domestic violence reports during lockdown. And, as the government’s advice was to stay indoors, victims often had nowhere to turn to when they were in dire need of support and refuge. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living crisis and COVID-19 are not the root causes of domestic abuse and violence. “We are not ready yet as a society to support women and that is the fundamental question,” says Farah Nazeer, the chief executive of Women’s Aid. “This is due to sexism and misogyny that underpins all those systems. They are not created to recognise the harm that women face on a daily basis,” she continued.
“As a Spice Girl I am the embodiment of girl power and for 10 years I was completely powerless,” said a passionate Mel B. “In these times of absolute economic chaos, with the massive issue of domestic abuse, I don’t want it to slip down the agenda.”