Recently we have seen how important it is to have an open conversation about domestic and sexual abuse. We have spent too long letting victims down by turning a blind eye and denying that the â€˜well respected nice personâ€™ we see on the outside couldnâ€™t possibly be a bad person.
The myth that abusers are weird creepy violent people that you can spot a mile off is just that, a myth. In most cases the abuser is someone the victim trusts and that is how he or she executes their power over their victim.
Abuse is about power and vulnerability.
I believe our biggest problem is how we view abuse, the stereotype we give it.Â It is hard as human beings to accept that someone we trusted would do something so horrific.
It is also pivotal to things changing that we understand how damaging abuse is to a victim, and the impact it has.
Self-identity is central to who we are as people; abuse strips you of exactly that.
I have spent eight years as an ambassador for Womenâ€™s Aid and have seen the devastating effects of domestic and sexual abuse. I am also a survivor of sexual abuse.
I sit on a Ministry of Justice panel to give a voice to victims of abuse and work on how we can change the criminal justice system to work with victims and not against them.
As many of you know I have run quite a few marathons to bring in much-needed funds and opened a conversation with football, a powerful voice for change, by running to and from 40 football clubs, to send a message that abuse is never acceptable â€“ all of us, men, women and children together, need to be united.
Â On the back of this, Womenâ€™s Aid have developed a campaign called Football United and, for the first time, last Sunday at Bournemouth v Liverpool, survivors including myself led the players out onto the pitch with the Football United flag highlighting the message that abuse is never OK.
Since I have spoken out, I have had so many people reach out to me and tell me their story.Â It is way more common than we would like to admit.