‘More than bruises’: Hayley Atwell stars in new Women’s Aid film

Women’s Aid has released a new film, ‘More Than Bruises’, starring actress Hayley Atwell and Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador Becky O’Brien.

In the film, Atwell goes into character as a woman who has been physically attacked by her partner but only once on set does she show the emotional impact of the abuse. It becomes clear that the abuse is much more than bruises and, as she looks into the camera in character, she shows the trauma of being abused, controlled and coerced by her partner.

The film marks the second collaboration with Ridley Scott’s production company RSA Films and writer/director Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton, 2006), after 2016’s ‘Do You See Her?’ film for Women’s Aid, starring Anne-Marie Duff, Phil Davis and Tessa Peake-Jones.

In ‘More Than Bruises’, Atwell is filmed undergoing two hours of professional make-up to give her the appearance of bruising and injuries inflicted as a result of domestic abuse; her make-up was based on images of women who had been physically attacked by their partner.

The film juxtaposes Atwell’s emotive performance with the heart-wrenching real-life story of Women’s Aid’s Survivor Ambassador, Becky O’Brien. O’Brien experienced years of emotional abuse, controlling behaviour and physical violence at the hands of her husband, which escalated while she was in hospital recovering from the birth of her twins.

Emotional abuse and coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse and it can have a long-lasting, detrimental effect on survivors’ wellbeing and safety. It is vital that every survivor and her child can access specialist support to help rebuild their lives after experiencing abuse.

No woman or child should face domestic abuse alone. With your support, Women’s Aid can make sure that they are not alone. Support Women’s Aid today: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/donate/

Hayley Atwell, actress, said:

“I’m proud to support Women’s Aid in creating change that lasts. No one should have to live in fear of domestic abuse. Hopefully, this film will go some way to raising awareness of the remarkable work Women’s Aid does every day.”

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“No survivor should face domestic abuse alone. Domestic abuse can leave physical bruises but the bruises that often take the longest to heal are the psychological ones. We know from our work with survivors that emotional abuse and coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse. It can take months, years, sometimes even a lifetime, to heal from if she cannot get the specialist support she needs to help rebuild her life after experiencing abuse.

“By teaming up with Hayley Atwell. Paul Andrew Williams, Ridley Scott Associates and our Survivor Ambassador Becky O’Brien, we hope to send out the message that you are not alone, Women’s Aid is always here to listen to you, believe you and support you.”

Becky O’Brien, Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador, said:

“I’m sharing my story because I want to help stop anyone else going through what I did. I want people to know that domestic abuse is not only physical; controlling and manipulative behaviour is at the heart of this abuse.

“Together with Women’s Aid, I campaign for more specialist support so that survivors can get the help they need, at the earliest possible point. With your help, Women’s Aid can reach more women to make sure they are not alone.”

Paul Andrews Williams, Director, said:

“I feel proud to be associated with an organisation such as Women’s Aid. I hope that this film highlights the issues surrounding all forms of domestic abuse.”

Sir Ridley Scott, founder of RSA films, said:

“Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated. We’re proud to support Women’s Aid and the work they do.”

Caspar Delaney, RSA Films Producer, said:

“RSA are delighted to be able to support Women’s Aid again. Director Paul Williams has directed another powerful and impactful piece, and it was a privilege to work with an actor of Hayley Atwell’s calibre – her amazing performance will hopefully help the film reach a huge audience and deliver its important message on a subject that needs as much exposure as possible.”

If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.

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