Murdered By My Boyfriend Is The Drama You Need To Watch This Week

Actress Georgina Campbell talks us through why this film is so important.


by Jess Commons |
Published on

Sadly, this is an all too familiar tale: boy meets girl, girl gets pregnant, boy becomes abusive, boy wages four-year campaign of violent terror and mind control over girl, girl leaves boy, boy murders girl. Currently in the UK, two women a week are dying at the hands of their partners. And guess what? If you’re under 24, it’s more likely to be you.

This is the subject of BBC3’s new film Murdered By My Boyfriend which airs tonight. Following the real-life story of Ashley and Reece (names have been changed), the film documents the growing abuse Ashley experienced at the hands of boyfriend Reece, before eventually being murdered in her own home as her toddler daughter sat in the room next door.

Fun, young, strong and with a close circle of friends, the Ashley of the film is not portrayed as a pitiful victim. Instead she’s forced, manipulated, cajoled and beaten over the course of an hour into a submission that eventually leads to her death. The film is funded in part by BBC Learning and the hope is to show it in schools in a bid to educate teenagers on the subject.

Ashley and Reece’s situation, as portrayed in the film, is by no means a one-off; their story is depressingly common. In fact, the producers looked at 12 real-life stories of domestic murder before settling with Ashley’s. We spoke to the actress who plays Ashley, Georgina Campbell, on the effect she hopes the film will have.

Tell us about the real-life case the film portrays

The film’s all about her meeting this guy when she’s really young. She’s 17, and he’s really charming and older and funny and sweet, and she falls head over heels and accidentally gets pregnant. Then you see the first flashes of domestic violence. Three years later, it’s this horrendously violent relationship between two people who, I suppose at the core of it, do love each other but in a completely twisted way. Obviously, as the title says, it doesn’t end very well.

And Ashley’s age is obviously important

Yes. Sadly, this case is quite common as they’re in the 16-24 age bracket where I think the number of cases are rising. When you’re that young, you’re not mature and most of these people that it happens to are with their first love or in their first relationship, so it’s a very difficult situation to handle. Especially because your friends are all young as well, so although they want to help – and you see this in the film – they’re immature too, so there’s not really much they can do.

Ashley goes back to Reece several times in the film after he’s violent

A lot of people see women who suffer domestic violence as victims and weak, but usually when women are within that situation they don’t see it as that. Usually, men who engage in domestic violence do come from quite troubled backgrounds, so sometimes these women think they need to look after these men and sort it out for them.

Often the men are so charming at the beginning that the first time [he’s violent] it seems like it’s just a one off – ‘He’s stressed, I’m pregnant, everything’s too much for him,’ and men purposefully make these women feel isolated.

In the film Ashley has a very small job, she’s not making that much money, she’s got a baby, she needs him. It very slowly creeps up and then I think once it’s got to a certain point, you feel like you’re trapped in it and there’s no way of getting out.

Do you feel like there’s too much judgement of the women that return to their abusive partners?

I think people will be like, ‘Well, she should have just left. She should have just stayed away.’ I think, hopefully, the film shows there’s a difficulty in that even though you’ve got these friends and family around you, it is still hard. These women are living in so much fear, and actually most women who die in domestically violence circumstances die after they’ve left their boyfriend. She leaves, then, because he’s got nothing left, he ends up murdering the woman.

Why do you think it is that domestic violence is so prevalent among young people?

I think there’s definitely that link between sex and violence, there’s been so much stuff recently about pornography and how easy it is for young people to get it and it’s hardcore pornography, mixing violence and sex.

And after making this film is there one thing you think the government could do to make a difference?

I think people need to be made more publically aware because when I came onto this film, I didn’t even realise that this was such a big issue. I remember speaking to some of my friends who are at university and they were saying they don’t remember being taught about domestic violence at school and even if we were, it doesn’t seem to have stuck in our heads.

So I think it’s something that needs to come into education and that children and young people need to have more of an understanding of. Also, I think it’s important for something like this [film] to come out which goes through the motions and shows that anyone really can get caught in a situation like this. Hopefully, it’ll start off a little bit of a trend and maybe there’ll be more awareness in the media.

Murdered By My Boyfriend is on BBC3 tonight at 9PM

Follow Jess on Twitter @jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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