Jamelia 'scarred' by domestic abuse
Singer and broadcaster Jamelia has said the mental scars of domestic abuse will be with her forever, as she tried to persuade women in similar situations to seek help.
She told viewers of ITV's afternoon show Loose Women, for which she is a regular panellist, that she was punched in the face and her partner hit her while she was breastfeeding her daughter.
Jamelia said: "The thing with domestic abuse is it's something you never get over. You can come to terms with it and forgive but the scars will always remain.
"For me, the best thing I could ever have done was to share my story - the best thing I could do was let other women know that they are not alone because that's exactly how I felt.
"I felt as if no one would understand, no one would get it. I couldn't tell anyone, I felt so embarrassed."
She spoke today as the programme launched a campaign to encourage people to speak out about the issue and seek help.
Jamelia said she was reluctant to tell anyone she was a victim at the time because she was young and in love.
Talking about her experiences, she said: "I would be on Top Of The Pops one minute and then I would be going home and getting punched in the face. I am sorry if that's a bit shocking but that was my reality. It is very difficult to say aloud."
Jamelia, whose hits include Superstar and Money, went on to explain the moment she was encourage to leave.
She said: "For me, it is when my daughter was four weeks old and he hit me when I was breastfeeding her and it was at that point that I realised that being in a relationship is a choice and I am choosing this and I am going to continue to choose this on behalf of my child. Do I want this to be her reality?"
Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge who was a guest on the show, said: "One woman in three is physically abused or abused domestically - it's a major social problem. It's a crime.
"Domestic violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible. He's responsible for the abuse and he's responsible for changing his behaviour."