The Sad Story of Melanie Brown

You don't need to be famous to suffer the effects of domestic abuse:

The first public warning sign came in December 2014, when Mel B was absent from a taping of the reality-competition series X Factor. Viewers at home were told that the pop star had fallen ill, but eyebrows were raised when the former Spice Girls singer appeared on the program the following evening with bruises on her arms and cheek. Mel B’s mother, Andrea, took to Twitter to insinuate that her daughter’s then-husband, Stephen Belafonte, was behind the bruising.

“On average It takes 30 beatings 4 a woman to leave abusive man how sad more should b done 4 these victims!!” she tweeted. Belafonte denied hitting his wife; Mel B remained silent at the time, only to tell the tabloids two months later: “No, my husband didn’t hit me. No, I didn’t get held hostage. Me and my husband are madly in love.” 

She won’t be silent anymore.

According to TMZ, Mel B filed a restraining order against Belafonte on Monday, alleging a vicious cycle of physical and emotional abuse. The singer, 41, claims in her declaration that her ex—a middling movie producer, and no relation to Harry—would regularly “beat me down to let me know he was in charge.” In July 2012, Mel B alleges that, on the eve of taping an X Factorsegment with the pop superstar Usher, Belafonte became green with jealousy, and punched her in the mouth. Two months later, she says that he not only punched her in the face again following her London Olympics performance, but also dragged her across the carpet, causing rug burns. Mel B shares that she tried to leave her husband time and again since they were married in 2007, but says he “threatened me with violence and threatened to destroy my life in every possible way… destroy my career and take my kids away from me.”

Horrible. I hope she gets the help she needs. Now is a good time to remind ourselves that the current state of politics in this country has further marginalized women. We need to focus on resources for people who aren't famous and who are suffering from abuse.