real life

Dear Brian McFadden: read this and then tell me I'm "pathetic".

Dear Brian McFadden,

Your tweet caught my attention.

It caught my attention because I have been “hit” and chose to stay with the perpetrator, or, my husband, until a couple of years ago.

I can’t say I haven’t heard what you said before. People say it all the time. I say it to myself all the time. How could I have stayed?! I’m such a fool for not leaving! I mean, he used to hit me! Who would put up with that nonsense? Only someone desperate…. pathetic.

Brian McFadden who tweeted that women who stay with men who abuse them are pathetic.

Over the years I have been grabbed, punched in the back, thrown down on the bed by my hair, even hit when I was nine months pregnant. In my shame, I would cover my bruises to keep what was left of my dignity. To preserve what pride I had, I would dismiss it all. Make excuses. And I stayed.

Why? Because I wanted to believe the best about him and for our family. About my choice to marry him. I have always believed that a strong healthy family unit ought to be fought for and defended and regarded as a vital pillar of our society.

But as time went on, the abuse left me feeling dismal. Sad. Weak. Useless. Feeble. All words that happen to be synonymous with the word you chose: “pathetic.”

I’m not pathetic. Nor is anyone who remains in the situation I was in a few years ago. And what’s more, I refuse to be told I am just as bad as he, because, when you called me pathetic, it reminded me of what he used to say.

As I laboured over how on earth I could leave my marriage after all that time, all that abuse, all that made me weak and dismal – I promise you Brian McFadden, that it was not because of people using words like “pathetic” that finally made me show him the door.

No, you are so wrong. Rather, it was words like “brave” and “strong” and “independent” and “valuable” and “worthy” and “you can do this,” that got me over the line.

Kind regards,


Editor’s note: After the backlash to his initial tweet, Brian McFadden sent another apology tweet to his 230,000 followers saying “Sorry if my last tweet upset anyone. Its just one of my friends is in that situation and it made me angry.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can ring the Domestic Violence Line for help on 1800 200 526.

Have you or someone you know been the victim of domestic violence? Did you leave? What gave you the courage to do so?