Blog - The Verdict
MSB Solicitors Liverpool
Friday, 10 August 2018 12:32

Love Island: A look back at a scandalous season 4

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The words Love Island have been hot on the lips of millions of viewers since the 2018 season launched on June 4. The fourth series of the popular reality show attracted record figures, with 3.6 million tuning in to watch the final this month.

And, this year, there has been no shortage of provocative headlines to further boost the show’s ratings.

From ex-partners entering the villa, to a double dumping for Scottish Laura Anderson and on-again off-again antics between Alex and Alexandra.

It’s true the show has raised more than the odd eyebrow, with many suggesting it objectifies women – others arguing it is simply exploitative of the show’s young contestants, their vulnerabilities and their emotions.

And, worryingly this year, some of the contestants’ behaviours have been deemed as emotionally abusive – with national charity Women’s Aid issuing a warning to young women to help them to recognise the signs of emotional and psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.
So how do we recognise the signs of emotional abuse?

Family solicitor at MSB, Wendy Eves, says: “While physical abuse is easy to recognise, emotional abuse is far more insidious. Put simply, emotional abuse is any form of behaviour that affects a person’s self-confidence or makes a person feel stressed, anxious, or upset. What’s more, it is now a recognised and punishable form of domestic abuse.

“In my opinion, some of the show’s contestants have certainly displayed signs of emotional abuse” added Wendy, “and with more than a million viewers being aged between 16-34, vulnerable people may be led to believe that emotionally abusive or coercive behaviour is acceptable – or even ‘the norm’ – in modern relationships, when in reality, it absolutely and should not be tolerated.”

Here, Wendy highlights three emotionally abusive behaviours demonstrated by this year’s contestants.

Gaslighting
Oxford Dictionaries online defines gaslighting as a behaviour or act that "manipulates someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity."

The term originates from a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton, in which a man manipulates his wife into thinking she is losing her mind.

Love Island lothario Adam Collard came under scrutiny from Women’s Aid chief executive Katie Ghose this year, when he suggested changes in his behaviour towards Rosie Williams were all in her head.

Katie said that there were “clear warning signs [of emotional abuse] in Adam’s behaviour,” adding that "in a relationship, a partner questioning your memory of events, trivialising your thoughts or feelings, and turning things around to blame you can be part of pattern of gaslighting and emotional abuse."

Walking on eggshells
Alex George may have been one of this year’s most popular contestants, but on occasion his behaviour towards love interest Alexandra Cane made for uncomfortable viewing.

Unlucky-in-love until week six, Dr Alex cranked up the charm to win over new singleton Alexandra. But in the days and weeks that followed, many accused Alex of toying with the make-up artist’s feelings – he even dumped her just two days before the show’s finale.

Dr Alex, who admits he is not a fan of public displays of affection, set the pace for their relationship, leaving Alexandra feeling like she was walking on eggshells and reserving or stifling signs of affection towards him.

And let’s not forget Dr Alex stonewalling Alexandra and turning his attention to newbie Laura Crane when she entered the villa the following week. Stonewalling is a form of ignoring someone without any real reason being given.

Undermining
But it wasn’t just within couples that emotionally abusive behaviour occurred. One of the moments that stirred the most controversy this year was that kiss between Georgia Steel and Jack Fowler – who was at that time coupled up with Georgia’s close friend in the villa, Laura Anderson.

After the date, Jack confessed to Laura that the pair had kissed on the lips, but that he hadn’t meant for it to happen – which filmed footage of their date seems to corroborate. Georgia, meanwhile, declared that the kiss had been mutual, leaving unlucky- in-love Laura questioning her relationship with Jack.

Upon confronting her about it, Georgia was dismissive of Laura, insinuating that she was being over-sensitive. She professed to have been ‘loyal’ to her friendship with Laura, leaving Laura feeling confused and embarrassed. This is one of the most commonly identified signs of an emotionally abusive personality.

If you feel as though you are suffering from emotional abuse, you can seek support from agencies such as MIND and Relate. 

If you are in a relationship and feel like you may be the victim of emotional abuse, you can apply to the Family Court for an injunction. If the behaviour is regarded as controlling or coercive, it can be reported to the Police as it is a criminal offence.

If you would like any advice on emotional abuse or controlling or coercive behaviour, contact Wendy Eves on 0151 281 9040 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Last modified on Friday, 10 August 2018 12:57

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