‘We all need to come together to tackle domestic abuse’: Alex Scott on finding her voice and speaking up for survivors

‘We all need to come together to tackle domestic abuse’: Alex Scott on finding her voice and speaking up for survivors

This article references domestic abuse.

It’s hard to remember a time when Alex Scott MBE wasn’t a familiar face on our TV screens. The ex-England international is a regular across sports media, presenting the likes of BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the BBC’s Olympics coverage, and the World Cup (Men’s and Women’s).

Those who have read Alex’s book How (Not) to Be Strong will appreciate the monumental influence she’s had on football, from being the first female pundit to appear on Match of the Day to bravely wearing the OneLove armband during the Men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Having come of age before the start of the Women’s Super League (England’s professional women’s football league) – when she worked in Arsenal’s laundry room to supplement her wages from professional football – Alex has tirelessly fought for women’s football to be afforded the same respect as the men’s game. But she’s also had to advocate for herself.

In her bestselling memoir, she reflects on her experience of domestic abuse, writing, “Living in fear every day is a feeling I would not wish on my worst enemy,” adding that she shared her personal experience as a way of “letting go of the past in order to dream of the future.”

Here, she speaks with GLAMOUR about how she found her voice, what she’s learned from working with survivors of abuse, and why she’s proud to partner with Refuge to continue their vital work supporting those impacted by domestic abuse.

GLAMOUR: Hi Alex! Thanks for speaking with GLAMOUR today. Can you tell me about why you wanted to be an ambassador for Refuge?

Alex Scott: Honestly, when my book came out – where I detailed my upbringing, my life and what I’d been through with domestic abuse – I wasn’t thinking about what next or how I could help or be an ambassador for anyone. That wasn’t the case. During my Women’s Hour interview on BBC Radio 4, I realised that I didn’t want anything from the book, but if I could use the proceeds to help anyone else who’s gone through what my mum did or what I kind of experienced as a kid, I wanted to do that.

I remember going away thinking, well, where do I look? Where should all these proceeds go? I did a lot of research, and it just felt right; something within my gut told me that I wanted to work with Refuge.

“Two women a week are killed by a partner or former partner… how are we not screaming about this?”

And how have you found working with Refuge so far?

I went to meet all the guys at Refuge to understand more about the work – and it’s just staggering. They were telling me that two women a week are killed by their partner or former partner… how are we not screaming about this? Why are we not doing more and as much as we can? It was an eye-opener for me to just sit around a table with everyone telling me all the work that they do and the continued work that we need to do.

Have you had many conversations with survivors or victims of domestic abuse through your work with Refuge?

Yes, the number of people who come up to me and message me on social media to share their experiences… They’ve gone through the same emotions; they’re still dealing with trauma and hearing me speak so openly has helped them. It’s so touching in a way because, like I said, I didn’t write the book even thinking about that; I just wrote the book about my experiences. So, to be able to connect with people and people find a way that has helped them is huge.

It’s so nice to hear you talking about people connecting with you on social media. As a woman in the public eye, you are exposed to a side of social media that a lot of women aren’t. How does that impact your activism and the work you do, specifically around ending violence against women and girls?

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