ITV drama Angela Black debuted tonight, which saw the titular character (Joanne Frogatt) dealing with a domestic abuse situation involving her husband.
The show began with a harrowing domestic violence attack that left viewers shocked, as Olivier (Michiel Huisman) attacked his wife off-screen with Angela's cries, Olivier's taunts, and the sound effects echoing throughout the house.
The camera then panned to Angela's bloody tooth lying on the floor after he knocked it out, and she is left with a terrible welt on her face.
Though the opening scene, and the moments of coercive control and gaslighting throughout the show, were difficult for some viewers, many praised it for a "hard-hitting" and "compelling" look at domestic violence.
One person said, "It might be shocking... but it needs putting out there. Some people survive and get away, but many don't. Awareness needs raising, and not just women, men go through it too."
Another wrote, "#AngelaBlack was hard-hitting, as it was meant to be."
A third said, "I really hope this show raises the topic of domestic violence and gets more people understanding how utterly terrifying it is, rather than it being see as normalising violence against women."
Despite many appreciating that ITV were highlighting how domestic violence can occur behind closed doors, as well as how difficult it can be to leave that situation, many were not happy with the portrayal.
One person tweeted, "Unbelievable #ITV #AngelaBlack with violence towards women increasing, you show a programme where a man beats her while she screams knocking her teeth out. Really, in this pervasive atmosphere of hate towards women, when women feel unsafe to walk the streets? Shame on you."
Another wrote, "After everything that's been said/is being said about violence towards women, I turned off #AngelaBlack. Sorry, not for me."
Both were referencing recent events such as the trial of Sarah Everard's killer and the tragic death of Sabina Nessa.
After the initial moment of violence, the rest of the episode saw Angela contemplating leaving him, while private investigator Ed (Sam Adewunmi) tries to warn her that Olivier is planning to kill her.
Angela Black continues on ITV next Sunday at 9pm.
If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Organisations including Women's Aid can provide further support and information on coercive control or coercive behaviour.
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