EastEnders is to tackle the issue of marital domestic abuse after fans were left in shock to see outwardly amiable Gray Atkins launch a vicious attack on his wife Chantelle after he felt humiliated upon losing the charity race in the Square. After Mitch Baker cheated and everyone laughed at him and mocked Gray for taking it so seriously, Gray stormed out and Chantelle followed, worried about the consequences.
As Gray slammed her against the wall and hit her, blaming her for laughing at him and humiliating him, it was clear this was not the first incident of violence in their relationship. Later, Gray gaslighted Chantelle into making her believe she was being over dramatic and he asked her not to cause another argument and to stop playing the victim.
He made himself out to be the one hard fone by as he claimed he struggled to fit in with her family and every time she tried to defend herself, he cut her off. In a sinister move, he then continued the night as if nothing had happened and they sat down for a meal together before he toasted his beautiful wife.
It is the beginning of a long running plot for EastEnders, who are working with Refuge and Womens Aid.
BBCs Head of Continuing Drama Kate Oates commented: When Chantelle and Gray arrived on the Square, they gave many of their neighbours a big dose of life-envy with their perfect relationship and no-filter-needed looks and lifestyle. But there is truth in the old adage that you dont know what goes on behind closed doors; and the very first time we crossed the threshold of No 1, we saw the truth of their relationship, and the violence Gray subjects Chantelle to.
In this story, we seek to acknowledge the fact that any relationship, however outwardly enviable, can be affected by violence and abuse. Chantelle is strong and capable, with friends and family to support her; and yet she is still unable to voice what is happening to her, and is therefore preventing anyone from helping her because she regards her abuse as a shameful secret. We hope this story encourages women and men who experience violence to seek out the help we know they deserve.
Taking on the storyline Jessica Plummer who plays Chantelle Atkins said: I feel honoured to take on the responsibility of Chantelles story. This is an issue that I, and everyone at EastEnders, hope we can raise awareness of. Many women and men that are in Chantelles situation suffer in silence and we really hope that by showing this story we can highlight an issue and encourage those in similar situations to seek the help they need.
Charities speak out
Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge said: Domestic abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country today. It is a crime which takes the lives of two women every week in England and Wales alone, with one in four women experiencing the issue in their lifetime. Domestic abuse mostly happens behind closed doors – hidden, lurking in the shadows of our society.
The more we all understand domestic abuse, be it the physical, emotional, sexual, financial control exerted by one partner over another – and are able to spot the signs – more women, like Chantelle, will be able to seek help from specialist organisations like Refuge. No one should live in fear of their partner. Refuge commends EastEnders for shining a light on this insidious issue.
Teresa Parker, Head of Communications for Womens Aid added: It is important when portraying domestic abuse on screen to make it as realistic as possible, and EastEnders have been working with us from the early stages of the storyline, through to advising on themes to the detail of the scripts. From the initial red flags to seeing what is going on behind closed doors, this storyline has been thoroughly researched with experts in domestic abuse.
As well as using our knowledge of survivors stories to inform our feedback, we visited the show with Natalie, who is a survivor of domestic abuse who campaigRead More – Source