Thus begins the opening lines of a statement from actor Rebecca Humphries, whose partner of 5 five years, Seann Walsh, was caught by the British media committing an infidelity with his fellow Strictly Come Dancing partner Katya Jones…in public… on Rebecca’s birthday.
Rebecca chose her words carefully and deliberately; and when you read what follows they become all the more powerful. In a nutshell – she was abused – emotionally abused. Her alleged abuser called her ‘psycho’, ‘nuts’ and ‘mental’ when she questioned his inappropriate behaviour. This constitutes emotional abuse by a partner she loved.
In Rebecca’s statement, she refuses to identify as a victim. Instead, she uses her words to inspire other women and men to identify the emotional abusers in their lives.
There is a term in dating, clinical research and research literature for this kind of behaviour: it is ‘gaslighting’. This is a type of psychological manipulation designed to ensure that your target, the target of your ‘gaslighting’, doubts themselves. It makes them question their instincts, their view on the world and sometimes their own sanity. The words that she claims he used, along with the lying and deceit that we know about, are classic ‘gaslighting’ techniques. Worth noting is that the usual peddlers of ‘gaslighting’ are typically psychopaths and narcissists.
We are also told that while Seann and Katya were “incredibly good” and put out a media statement apologising for their actions, neither of them have bothered to speak to Rebecca. Their subsequent silence with her is deafening.
She is not a victim, but in the same way that Seann callously flirted with and snogged another woman, on his girlfriend’s birthday, becoming a media firestorm, Rebecca Humphries came out with a simple, succinct, black and white statement that will quite rightly have career and life-altering effects on him. Rebecca spoke her truth. So, this has gone from being a situation (see Gillian’s initial poll asking whether the kiss constituted betrayal) as depicted by him, as a loving partner who found themselves in a one-off drunken moment, to an alleged abuser with a pattern of abusive behaviour.
I cannot see a way in which he can continue on Strictly Come Dancing and it wouldn’t surprise me if he puts out a statement to say he has to drop out for personal reasons to “re-build” his life or his relationship, or to work on his demons. But! Having failed to contact his ex-girlfriend, or take the time to explain his actions, and vitally apologise to her, this is career ending stuff. Interestingly, in a recent poll that CEO Gillian McCallum carried out 43% of voters thought that Seann should continue on the show.
In Scotland, this kind of abusive, manipulative name calling behaviour, is quite rightly illegal, and can result in a prison sentence. Rebecca urges other women (and I would caution, other men) who are in abusive relationships to take a stance on this name calling, ‘gaslighting’ and bullying and take the bold step of sharing the truth of the relationship with friends and relatives.
And in one final, devastating blow and with a fabulously understated flourish, it becomes clear that Seann may be a professional comedian, but she is the one with the sense of humour; she’s taken Seann down… and is keeping the cat!