“Murdered By My Boyfriend” Showed The Horrific Reality Of Domestic Violence

One in four women will suffer domestic violence in their lifetimes. Here’s why BBC3’s drama, which aired last night, is such an important programme.

1. Murdered by My Boyfriend tells the true story of Ashley (name changed).

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2. When she first meets her boyfriend Reece (name changed), the two seem a perfect match. He seems kind, gentle, and charming.

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3. However, cracks begin to show in their relationship. He begins to become violent.

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4. The film is surprising because it documents Reece’s sweeter side as well as his violent abuse.


Ashley’s mother told BuzzFeed: “It wasn’t until after my daughter was killed that I discovered the true extent of what she had been experiencing. It’s incredibly difficult to admit to family and friends that the person who is supposed to be loving you is in fact abusing you. You begin to doubt yourself and ask was it something that I did because the perpetrator will blame you and minimise what he has done.

For instance, by saying, ‘It was only a slap’, he will persuade you that it is your fault by saying such things as ‘You wind me up’; eventually you start to believe that it was your fault. He will blame drink, drugs, or stress, but the real reason for the abuse is because he wants to have power over his partner and wants to control her. The rest is just excuses to try and justify his behaviour.”

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5. Reece is seen, for instance, making cupcakes with his daughter.


Ashley’s mother said: “If I had known at the time I would have done anything to prevent my daughter from being hurt. But you cannot tell someone to leave an abusive relationship. If it was that easy to leave then I wouldn’t be writing this now. There are many reasons why women become trapped in abusive relationships; fear is just one reason.”

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6. At the same time, we see his controlling side. He buys Ashley an iPhone as a gift but demands to see constant photos from her.


Ashley’s mother said: “All I can say is if your partner is hurting you physically, mentally, or sexually, then that isn’t love. Love isn’t painful. Love doesn’t make you sad. Love doesn’t make you feel scared. Love is being respected, valued, and cared for.

If you are being abused in any way, then I would say talk to someone. If you feel unable to talk to friends or family, there are help lines. If you want to leave, do it safely, have a plan.”

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7. We see Reece constantly chipping away at Ashley’s self-esteem by, for example, talking about her weight, which helps him push the blame on her for things he’s done.


Ashley’s mother said: “My daughter was strong-willed and independent, but her murderer manipulated, controlled, and persuaded her into going back, he told her he loved her, he told her he didn’t mean it, he told her the abuse was her fault, he told her he wouldn’t hurt her again. But he lied.

Abusers seldom change, why would they? They do what they want, when they want, and that’s how they want it to stay. They want to be the boss because they feel superior. They are disrespectful to women and see us as being there for cooking, cleaning, and sex. Avoid them at all cost.

Healthy relationships are loving, equal, and trusting. Don’t look for perfect, look for decent.”

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8. Murdered by My Boyfriend is on BBC3 at 9 p.m. on Monday.

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Alan White is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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