Alesha Dixon steps out for domestic abuse victims

 

Talent show judge Alesha Dixon took a walk in the sun this morning as part of a campaign supporting women affected by domestic violence, as it was revealed two women are killed by current or former partners every week in England and Wales - but she refused to comment on Rihanna's reconciliation with Chris Brown.

The Britain's Got Talent star said she believed the walk - part of the Speaking Out In Her Name campaign - over Westminster Bridge to Parliament Square in central London, would make a difference and deemed the statistics "shocking".

She said: "I don't think a lot of people know the figures - that two women a week die.

"The statistics are shocking and it can't happen anymore.

"I think today will make a difference.

"We won't stop until people listen and until change has been made."

Dixon led about 50 women - domestic violence survivors, families of victims and campaigners - on the symbolic walk of hope to commemorate women who have died as a result of domestic violence.

The walk also symbolised hope for a future free of domestic violence.

When asked about what she thought of pop singer Rihanna's reconciliation with Chris Brown after he assaulted her four years ago, Dixon said: "No comment."

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said she believed the scenario was a "complex" one and quite often people are judgmental of the victim when they should be directing that feeling towards the abuser.

She said people should not question why Rihanna has returned to Brown, but instead why Brown assaulted her in the first place, adding that it is impossible to comment on an individual woman.

She said: "I think it's very complex and women - a lot of women - it takes them about seven times of leaving an abuser before they finally do it.

"It's impossible to comment on an individual woman. I think what we should be asking is, not why she went back, but why he did what he did.

"I think what we need to do is question a culture in which domestic abuse is seen as somehow inevitable or even acceptable.

"But I really wouldn't want to pass judgment on any woman, because for most women leaving their abuser is a process, it's not a one-off thing that happens and it's quite difficult to get that across and it's really important that people understand that.

"There is a lot of judgment (handed) out actually towards women who are victims of domestic violence. It's not uncommon for there to actually be quite a judgmental reaction against them, which obviously isn't where the judgmental reaction belongs in reality."

Ms Neate described domestic violence as "one of the most fundamental problems that is facing our society", but said it is "hidden" and "not spoken about".

She said: "There's a lot of shame attached to domestic abuse and what's really important is that we're here to speak out in the name of those women who have died, to raise awareness, to help women to understand what to do if they are victims, and to help everyone to understand what domestic abuse is, that it's not acceptable, and that it is a major problem in our society that we just need to do something about together."

PA

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