In many ways, Emma Murphy epitomizes strength. As a fitness blogger followed by thousands, she is always bright-eyed and inspirational as far as one could tell by her online presence. The usually composed and confident mother of two exposed her vulnerable side and reached thousands yesterday with her tearful confession that she has been in an abusive relationship for over three years, and her brave announcement that she was now walking away.
The video shows Murphy crying with a black eye and her child playing behind her. She speaks boldly through her tears to reveal that her relationship has turned emotionally and physically abusive, and that when she had approached her partner about his habit of infidelity he had punched her, leaving her with the visible bruises on her face. She confesses also that this was “not the first time” but that she had finally realized it was not acceptable.
This video proves that intimate partner violence can happen to anyone, and that any stigma on domestic violence victims is unfounded. Though awareness is spreading, the stereotype of the domestic violence victim as exclusively poor and weak-minded women remains. The truth cannot be farther from that image. All kinds of people can become victims of domestic violence, regardless of race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or even gender. Murphy presents an image of a successful public figure who is also a victim of domestic violence. Representations like this will help us get much closer to ending the stigma.
What’s most powerful about this video, though, is Murphy’s call to action to her fans and all other people who may be watching. She asks that everyone in her position realize that violence is not acceptable, and that they refuse to allow themselves to be mistreated. She makes a special point to implore mothers to remove themselves from abusive situations to protect not only themselves, but their children as well.
We support Emma Murphy in her decision to leave and thank her for her honesty and willingness to help spread awareness. The viral story of her escape has the potential to save lives and empower survivors all over the world.