All that glitters may not be gold, especially a relationship that appears glamorous and glitzy from the outside. For some California residents, the reality is far removed from the public perception. Cases of domestic violence are often something akin to a Jekyll and Hyde existence, with the abuser behaving like a model citizen in public and reverting to a monster in private.
Mel B, former Spice Girl and America’s Got Talent judge, has filed for divorce from her husband, film producer Stephen Belafonte, amid allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive toward her during their marriage. She recently obtained a restraining order against him, citing his violent and aggressive nature as the reason. Their relationship began as many such stories do; she was in a vulnerable position, being a single mother who was pregnant with her second child, and she became caught up in a whirlwind romance. The couple married in June 2007 after being together for only two months, and he became physically violent toward her within months of their marriage.
She alleges that he undermined her confidence and self-respect with verbal abuse and threats, telling her that she was stupid and threatening to damage her career and reputation by releasing intimate videos and information. She alleges that she was subjected to beatings and also sexual abuse, which became increasingly more violent as time passed. She alleges that he was also unfaithful on many occasions, including with the nanny they hired to care for their children, who became pregnant as a result. She has also said that he would force her to post on Twitter to refute suggestions that anything was amiss, after appearing in public with cuts and bruises, putting these down to her own clumsiness.
Being caught up in such a relationship can be terrifying, and it may seem impossible to escape. No California resident deserves to be a victim of domestic violence, whether it consists of verbal or physical abuse. Seeking help and advice in order to escape such a situation may seem daunting, but there are numerous options available to help with both legal and emotional support to assist victims in moving forward into a better future.
Source: pagesix.com, “What finally pushed Mel B to file for divorce“, Helen Kumari and Kate Sheehy View, April 4, 2017