National domestic abuse charity Women's Aid has announced that comedian, actor and writer Maddy Anholt is its new Love Respect Ambassador.
Maddy Anholt comments: "We grew up with rose-tinted stories about non-consensual kisses with sleeping princesses and happy-ever-afters. So, when I fell into my first relationship at 15, I had no comprehension of the word 'consent'. No one told us about setting boundaries, understanding red flags, toxic love and controlling personality types.
"As I tumbled through controlling relationship after controlling relationship, it took me until the age of 30 to truly understand that what I had been through was domestic abuse. I saw first-hand that emotional scars are just as lasting and damaging as physical ones.
"Through my own journey of healing, I worked with many inspiring women, numerous of whom were at Women's Aid, to help me understand what had happened and use my voice to help others. What I have found is there is still a vast gap of misunderstanding. Women's Aid and Love Respect are setting about to ensure that, through raising awareness and education, that gap is closed.
"I am incredibly passionate about working with Women's Aid to spread its clear and simple message that Love = Respect. Awareness will be our shield and together we can empower young women and gift them the strength to trust their voices, see their worth, know what is and what is not acceptable, and enjoy safe, happy and compassionate love."
Farah Nazeer, chief executive at Women's Aid, says: "Since the tragic death of Sarah Everard, a national conversation has begun on how society can work together to end the abuse and violence that girls and women endure daily. As a long-time supporter of our work and a tireless campaigner and activist, we are so pleased to welcome Maddy Anholt as our new Love Respect Ambassador. We offer our huge thanks to Maddy for her continued commitment to empowering survivors. We are proud to be working together to raise awareness that abuse is not love and that girls and women deserve to expect respect."
The Love Respect website can be found at loverespect.co.uk
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, go to womensaid.org.uk for support and information, including Live Chat, the Survivors' Forum, The Survivor's Handbook and the Domestic Abuse Directory. Live Chat is open 10am - 6pm seven days a week for confidential expert support from specialised support workers.