Mel B’s daughter, Phoenix Brown, has spoken about witnessing her mother suffering abuse and how it affected her.
As part of The Sun’s #NoMeansNo campaign, the 46-year-old singer and her daughter Phoenix, 22, shared their own stories after distressing footage circulated on social media of a young woman accusing top footballer, Mason Greenwood of sexual assault.
Phoenix, who witnessed some of the worst attacks on her mum, goes into schools to teach kids about consent.
She explained to TheSun why it is important to act now, years after her mother separated from ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte.
She said: “The recording of the alleged sexual assault that circulated this weekend is horrific.
“I’m reaching out to the alleged victim because, after watching my mum suffer in an abusive relationship, I know exactly how this woman is feeling.
“I remember being 14 or 15, in my basement bedroom late one evening, when I heard my mum and Stephen fighting — even though they were two floors above me.
“My mum came downstairs to the kitchen followed by Stephen. I sneaked out of my room and looked through a gap in the stairs just to check Mum was OK.
“Then I went back to my room in the basement. But a few minutes later, I heard more screaming and shouting. She was yelling: ‘Stop, get off!’ Then I heard some thumps.
“I went upstairs again and saw Stephen with his pants down and my mum pushed over the couch. I froze but I knew there was nothing I could do. I was too frightened, too young, too helpless.
“So I went back to my room and lay on my bed staring terrified into the darkness.
“I had school the next day but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Back then, this was my family life. Now I’m passionate about helping others who find themselves in an abusive relationship.
“Men need to know that being in a relationship does not mean you can force yourself on a woman or make her do anything against her will. It’s so hard for women to be heard and believed — let alone have enough evidence to bring a criminal prosecution, which is what should happen.
“I believe change will only come when we start teaching youngsters about consent.
“Sex education at school needs a major overhaul, which is why I’m going into schools to raise awareness of unhealthy relationships with the Women’s Aid’s campaign, Expect Respect.
“Currently, schools just concentrate on the biological aspects of a sexual relationship, like the importance of using a condom, rather than emotional issues.”
She continued: “We need to educate young people about the dangers of social media and sharing explicit pictures of yourselves or others. It can happen to anyone.
“As a child survivor of domestic abuse, I want to help other women, girls and young men spot the red flags early so they don’t have to suffer like I did.”