Welsh language soap shines a light on male domestic abuse

This blog post is taken from an article published in the Wales on Sunday on 17 July 2016.

The Welsh language soap Pobol y Cwm has gripped the nation in recent weeks as it continues to explore the volatile relationship between characters Ed and Sioned.

Portraying such a sensitive issue on screen would not have been possible without the help of Safer Wales, a charity which provides support and advice to those experiencing both psychological and physical abuse in their daily lives.

Events in the show came to a head in Monday night’s episode when Sioned’s character spat in Ed’s face during an argument. It was the first time any physical abuse has occurred in the couple’s storyline so far, but the plot will develop over the next month as their relationship deteriorates.

The Safer Wales team and a client worked closely with the producers and actors at BBC Cymru Wales in the development of the storyline to ensure the treatment Ed experiences at the hands of Sioned is portrayed realistically. They drew from knowledge gained during their work with real domestic abuse victims to identify the common behavior traits expressed in such situations.

Discussing domestic abuse experienced by men is often seen as a taboo subject. However, by telling such stories through the lives of familiar characters, the popular programme is helping to raise awareness of the issue as well as informing people of the signs to look out for.

Chief executive of Safer Wales Barbara Natasegara said:

“Raising awareness of domestic abuse suffered by men is extremely important, and we are delighted to be working with Pobol y Cwm to do this. As we have seen through Ed and Sioned’s story, forms of domestic abuse can present themselves in many different ways, both physical and emotional.

“It’s is something that can affect anyone and everyone, in all walks of life. We are used to hearing stories of physical and emotional control from a man over a woman, but the reality is that this is something that can happen to anyone of any gender.”

Llyr Morus, series producer of Pobol y Cwm said: 

“Pobol y Cwm has a strong track record of telling challenging stories; last year actor Dyfan Rees' portrayal of his character lolo White's struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was recognised with a Mind Media award.

“This storyline highlights the issue of male domestic abuse and we have a responsibility to ensure the programme reflects these situations as accurately as possible. We take this responsiblity very seriously and working with expert organisations such as Safer Wales is key. I'd like to thank Safer Wales for their co-operation and advice ; it has been invaluable.”

Safer Wales offers a number of different services to those experiencing abuse in Wales. The charity’s Dyn Project specifically provides support for heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men who are experiencing domestic abuse from a partner.

If you are concerned about issues surrounding domestic abuse of any kind, you can contact Safer Wales, Dyn Helpline 0808 801 0321.

Pobol y Cym is broadcast at 8pm on S4C on weekday nights.