Coronation Street: Is Geoff and Yasmeen’s abuse storyline realistic? Charity explains
Coronation Street has halved the number of episodes it’s showing each week from six to just three, due to the coronavirus pandemic. One storyline which has continually gripped viewers of the ITV soap though is controlling Geoff Metcalfe’s (played by Ian Bartholomew) abuse to wife Yasmeen (Shelley King). But is the horrific situation true to life? Express.co.uk has spoken to charity Women’s Aid about the realities of abuse.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Coronation Street.
Geoff first appeared on the cobbles early last year when he met Yasmeen at the hospital while she was visiting friend Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver).
Their relationship quickly started to blossom and it seemed like Yasmeen was finally going to get her happy ending after her ex-husband Sharif (Marc Anwar) was discovered to be having a long-term affair, leaving her heartbroken.
However, alarm bells started ringing as Geoff began to manipulate his wife into getting what he wanted, taking control of her finances and even staging a robbery so Yasmeen would begin to distrust everyone around her apart from him.
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The situation has got progressively worse though over the past few months.
From locking claustrophobic Yasmeen in his magician’s box and killing her precious chicken Charlotte and making her eat her, to making her believe he was going to harm himself just so she wouldn’t go to her grandson’s wedding in Spain, Geoff has proven himself to be a very dangerous man.
Thankfully though, Yasmeen went to the police, asked for the information about Geoff’s criminal past via Clare’s Law after granddaughter Alya (Sair Khan) requested the details on her behalf. So now she is aware he has a history of harassing another woman.
Is Geoff and Yasmeen’s domestic abuse storyline true to life?
Unfortunately, the domestic abuse storyline in Coronation Street is realistic and many women have suffered in similar situations.
ITV and the makers of Coronation Street started working with charities Women’s Aid and Independent Choices Greater Manchester about the best ways to portray this particular kind of abuse.
Head of Communications at Women’s Aid Teresa Parker told Express.co.uk: “I have been working closely with the team at Coronation Street to make this storyline as realistic as possible.
“Sadly, domestic abuse is happening behind closed doors all over the country, and many people do not realise that you don’t have to be hit to experience domestic abuse.
“Yasmeen is experiencing coercive control, which means she is living on eggshells as Geoff manipulates her and controls what she can and can’t do. “Both the scriptwriters and actors have taken this storyline really seriously, and some of the cast have also this week made a short film raising awareness of how to get help, if you are experiencing domestic abuse during lockdown.”
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With the majority of people across the world now living in lockdown, there has been a surge in domestic abuse.
According to charity Refuge, The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown.
What’s even more concerning is it was revealed yesterday (Thursday, April 16) by campaigners from Counting Dead Women how there had been at least 16 suspected domestic abuse killings since the lockdown measures were introduced in the UK three weeks ago.
This is more than double the average rate for this time of year.
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Over the coming weeks, the Geoff and Yasmeen storyline will continue where hopefully she will find the strength to escape.
Coronation Street producer Iain Macleod said: “I hope this story will help anyone going through similar experiences in the real world by highlighting that feeling undermined, belittled, controlled or intimidated by your partner is never okay.
“The old ‘sticks and stones’ adage is just plain wrong – words can be instruments of torture and manipulation.”
If you are in need of help, call The National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247
Coronation Street continues tonight, Friday, April 17, at 7.30pm on ITV.
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