Christa Ackroyd: How Roxanne Pallett has let me and other domestic violence victims down

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Roxanne Pallett is now scrabbling about trying to save her career. I do not care whether she does or not.

Her snivelling apology for deliberately trying to set up fellow Celebrity Big Brother housemate Ryan Thomas by accusing him of being violent and calling him a ‘woman beater’ despite the cameras showing otherwise, smacked of desperation, not genuine remorse.

“I can’t apologise enough for labelling someone for something he is clearly not”, she said.

Well, no you can’t, Roxanne.

You could have changed his life forever. And I do not accept your apology. Neither should he. Nor do some 21 former Emmerdale cast members who very publicly joined in the condemnation of her actions.

The word ‘karma’ was used more than once.

I don’t know Roxanne Pallett. I am not sure she knows herself, but I do not like what I see.

Channel 5, or rather the Celebrity Big Brother producers, must also bear some responsibility.

It’s an ailing format that has run its course after 18 years.

Rumour has it that this was to be the last series. And so they deliberately tried to spice things up from the off with the title Eye of the Storm, choosing so-called celebrities who have already faced public controversy.

In other words they were trying to manipulate the ‘storm’. No? Well in that case, why didn’t the producers immediately show what was nothing more than play fighting to fellow inmates – sorry, housemates – to make it clear what had happened, then kick out the culprit and not issue a warning to the innocent?

Because they knew it would be good for ratings to keep it going. And it has been.

Putting that aside, this whole sorry episode is far more disturbing than a pathetic and failed attempt to win attention and then public sympathy by an 
actress.

Roxanne Pallett and the way the whole incident
has been handled has let 
down thousands, no millions, 
of women, and men for that matter, for whom domestic 
violence was, or worse still, is a reality.

I know, it happened to me.

I finally came to my senses, quite literally, during a short-lived relationship when I was ‘floored’, again quite literally, over a pack of butter, or rather the wrong pack 
of butter.

Apparently if I loved him I would have got the right butter.

Of course the warning signs were there. They always are.

Even though it was many, many moons ago, I still remember the jealous rages, looking out of the office window to see his car parked in the car park, him spying on me, the suggestions I needed to change, not him.

The worst of it was it wasn’t too long before I came to believe that in some way I was indeed to blame. The tearful apologies, the ‘look what you made me do’ attitude wormed their way into my brain. It must be my fault.

He was so charming, so protective, so caring to the outside world, just not behind closed doors. Above all I was ashamed at my failing relationship.

I believed if I altered my behaviour, my whole personality and tip-toed around him it would all come good. And so I told no-one.

Even when one of my neighbours came round when he was not there, saying she knew what was happening, she had heard it through the walls, I denied it to her and to myself.

After all he swore it wouldn’t happen again... and again... and again.

Until one day I bought the wrong pack of butter. And it was over. He brought me to my senses alright.

So I left, never to return. And you can’t believe that of me, can you? Someone who is so strong, so resolute. Well maybe that’s partly what has made me so.

I haven’t thought about it in years, but watching Ryan in the Big Brother diary room apologise and cry for something he didn’t do, brought it all back, as it will do for all victims of domestic violence and abuse.

They will recognise the consequences of being accused unjustly, of being manipulated to the point where you doubt yourself. Because not all abuse is physical, sometimes it’s mental. A blame game. A gross distortion of the truth. And if so, then I am sorry Roxanne Pallett, there is only one abuser here. And it’s not Ryan Thomas.