X Factor star's mother inspired Archers domestic abuse plot

The Archers domestic abuse storyline has been running for two years. Credit: BBC/Pete Dadds

A real-life victim, who is the inspiration behind the domestic abuse storyline on the BBC Radio 4 show the Archers, has said that if the plot "has helped just one woman...than I am happy'.

Mandy Thomas, who is the mother of X Factor star Jahmene Douglas, was abused for years by her partner.

She has revealed that she has been sharing her experiences with actress Louiza Patkas, who plays abuse victim Helen Titchener, so that she can better understand the mental as well as physical ordeal domestic abuse survivors go through at the hands of their partners.

Writing in a blog for the website Mumsnet, Mandy opened up about her own abuse which included a four-day assault that eventually led to her partner being jailed for six years.

Domestic abuse isn't just physical violence; it is mental abuse. It is coercive control that creates an invisible prison for the abused... I suffered every kind of abuse imaginable at the hands of my ex, including horrific physical attacks. My eldest son saw his father take a blow torch to me. Many have their souls and minds broken – as has happened to Helen – even when the physical wounds have healed.

Mandy Thomas

Mandy is now a Survivor Ambassador for charity Women's Aid and has written a book to help other abuse victims called 'You Can't Run'.

She said that she is "proud of the impact" the Archers plot is having on the public.

The Archers domestic abuse storyline has been running for two years. Credit: BBC/Pete Dadds

It is vital that domestic abuse is portrayed clearly, in all its ugliness – and The Archers has not shied away from that. It does not matter if people are uncomfortable when they listen to it; they need to understand the painful reality of domestic abuse, and how coercive control can envelop a victim, crushing her spirit.

Mandy Thomas

Since the Archers story culminated on Sunday with Helen stabbing her abusive husband Rob, it has been regularly trending on Twitter and a fundraising page set up for victims has raised over £105,000.

Mandy said she suffered a miscarriage during her abuse and her eldest son Daniel killed himself because of "the pressure of living in a climate of fear."

She adds that her mission now is to "campaign for strong sentences for perpetrators of domestic abuse" and save as many lives as she can through raising awareness.

My physical wounds have healed but the mental scarring is permanent.... I want all women living with an abusive partner out there to know – you are not alone.

Mandy Thomas