WHEN Big Brother first aired on our screens in 2000, I was gripped. It was a groundbreaking social and entertainment experiment with a group of housemates who knew nothing of what they were getting into, and a public who just didn’t know what to expect.

Most of it, I’ll admit, was quite mundane. But it brought out the voyeur in me to watch them just making each other cups of tea, or sitting in the garden talking about nothing.

That was before I had children, when I actually had time to be interested in other people’s lives and Orwellian experiments. The show lost its novelty for me by the second year. People taking part knew exactly what it was about, and to them it was about fame.

I never even bothered to watch Celebrity Big Brother – not my cup of tea, and being out of the celebrity news loop these days, none of the so-called celebrities were familiar to me anyway.

But this week I did watch a clip of it, simply because Twitter was buzzing about it like an angry nest of wasps.

Roxanne Pallett, an actor, had accused a fellow actor of punching her when anyone watching it could see he was play-acting and didn’t appear to have made contact.

In tears, she went into the Big Brother diary room and made a complaint after branding him a "woman beater".

Her career, already teetering on the edge, now appears to be over as she has since admitted she had made a "terrible mistake" and was now the "most hated girl in Britain". This is probably true. Even Katie Hopkins has had a bit of a break this week as the nation rounds on Miss Pallett.

I can understand their anger. The actor had not shown any hostility or threatening behaviour towards her before the incident. It was clearly not a domestic violence or domestic abuse situation, and had the cameras not been trained on him, the accusation could have ended his career or worse, landed him with a criminal conviction.

The charity Women’s Aid has supported her, saying as a previous victim of domestic violence even play fighting can trigger traumatic memories. I can see this point, but Miss Pallett’s short-term reaction was to laugh, not cower, while as time went on she seemed to change her reaction.

The real issue is that she is in the public eye, her actions are well known, and victims of abuse often struggle to be believed – and indeed, to believe themselves – as it is.

They often believe their abuser’s version of the truth, as do many others, and it is hard enough to speak out. Miss Pallett has put the cause back a decade at least. Just when victims were finding their voices, speaking out against what is clearly unacceptable thanks to the #MeToo movement, etc, they will now be put firmly back in their boxes by abusers who can accuse them of "doing a Pallett".

So yes, I’m angry with this woman who I had never heard of before last week. But she’s more than been punished by Twitter, and by the national media. To carry on vilifying someone who is clearly not in a good place is, some would argue, worse than what she accused the actor of. Let’s leave her alone, and perhaps she will put right some of the damage she has done by helping true victims of domestic abuse.

What is your opinion on Roxanne Pallett and Celebrity Big Brother?

What is your opinion on Roxanne Pallett and Celebrity Big Brother?

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