Why everyone’s talking about Alex Scott and her powerful message about domestic abuse

Written by Morgan Cormack

Speaking in a new interview, broadcaster and former England and Arsenal player Alex Scott opened up about the domestic abuse she says she experienced as a child and her father’s recent denial of these allegations. 

Content warning: this article contains references to childhood abuse and trauma that readers might find upsetting.

As well as being a beloved former England and Arsenal footballer and one of the most well-known faces on TV, Alex Scott has made headlines recently for speaking out on a variety of important topics.

Not only has she discussed the online abuse she endures and its impact on her mental health, but on the week of her book release, she has also opened up about her difficult childhood and experiences of domestic abuse.

How (Not) To Be Strong is Scott’s autobiography, which is described as “an inspirational memoir of finding strength and resilience”, but it’s also been an important opportunity for Scott to write about her own childhood abuse. In it, she describes hearing her father be violent towards her mother in their flat in east London. She writes: “All I could do was lie there and pray my mum would be alive in the morning.” 

Alex Scott has spoken about her experience of domestic abuse as a child.

Her father, Tony, denied all claims earlier this week in a Daily Mail interview and said: “Perhaps she is judging me by today’s standards, I don’t know. Parents were a lot tougher back then. But I was never violent, that’s just not me. I never beat Alex or anyone else in the family or did anything like that.”

But in a recent appearance on Woman’s Hour, Scott revealed her motivations for writing about her experiences and her response to her father’s own claims. Speaking to Emma Barnett, the former international footballer said that her decision to write about his behaviour was purely because she wanted to help “free [her] mum”.

She said: “That story from him coming out yesterday takes her back to a place… hearing the pain and the terror again in her voice last night – that’s why I don’t know what I can do. But I’m not going to allow him to win no more.

“This book, the reason was to get some peace. And I suppose when you are in peace it gives you a new position of power and that’s maybe why he’s trying to [respond] right now.” 

In the emotional interview, which has since been widely circulated on social media, Scott explains: “It’s all still so raw. I can visualise it like it was yesterday.

“And that’s the thing as well, even when my dad left that environment, we never communicated or you don’t speak about it, it’s like you try to move on with your life and leave that to the side but it never leaves you. And that pain and the struggles still continue.”

She continued: “Then those conversations with my mum don’t happen, she doesn’t know that her two kids are in the room hearing everything. She’s trying to be strong in a totally different way, we’re trying to be strong for her but can’t help her. The visuals are still so there. I couldn’t do anything.

Talking about her father’s latest response to the abuse allegations, Scott said: “I actually don’t care what happened to me. If you are saying being beaten with a belt is just being strict – I can take that, I really don’t care about me.

“What I do care about is my mum and the fear and terror that she had to live in and the fact I was never able to help her in that, but what I can do is help her now by speaking the truth. And everything I wrote in that book, I stand by it. It is the truth.” 

Alex Scott

But Scott went on to explain why the whole recent affair has left her feeling angry at herself and “sorry”, saying: “I feel sorry right now that I’ve not used my voice sooner to help my mum or any other woman that is in this position.

“But what he has done – he’s lit a new fire in me yesterday. What I will do is do all I can to help women in this position so they don’t have the feelings that my mum has carried her whole life – or what I have.”

She finished the interview stating that the proceeds of her book will “go to help women” and the emotional interview has since garnered an outpouring of public sympathy and admiration.

This interview has allowed Scott’s message to reach an audience far and wide.

It’s an emotional listen but is an important one all the same.

And Scott has further proven that she is an outspoken advocate for domestic abuse survivors.

You can listen to the full interview on Woman’s Hour on BBC Sounds.

NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood) offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. You can visit their website or given them a call on 0808 801 0331.

Images: Getty

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