Mia Boardman has said she realised she "wasn't going crazy" when she finally opened up about the abuse she was facing.
The reality star has opened up about creating her documentary and getting necessary support following her domestic violence ordeal.
The Teen Mom UK star bravely spoke about her experience earlier this year after her ex boyfriend Christopher Brooks was jailed for 12 months after pinning her to the floor and strangling her.
Now, Mia has used her platform to spread more awareness on domestic abuse and the harrowing experience that so many people deal with on a daily basis.
Mia will be releasing her documentary, Domestic Violence & Me: Mia's Story, on MTV on Wednesday evening (October 13) – and she's recognised that the filming process has helped her tremendously.
Speaking to Daily Star, Mia explained that she spoke to various people while filming, including survivors – and former abusers.
She said: "I went on a journey learning about abuse and speaking to different women, and one of the women, Natalie, said it felt like every man had read the same book. That's what it felt like for me. Suddenly it felt like I wasn't going crazy, it wasn't my fault.
"When I sat down to speak to the former abusers, I went in thinking they are the way they are, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that they could have those beliefs and they could change.
"I was nervous. There were a lot of emotions going through my head."
Mia spoke to a man who had a history of abuse. She explained that upon speaking to the man, she realised that he had replicated the behaviour of his father, and eventually got help.
She said: "He went on this course and realised it wasn't right and changed the way he thought. A lot of people don't think they need to change. If this course is working for people, there should be a bigger push for it. His wife and his family have said they've seen a big change in him.
"This has left me feeling really hopeful. I didn't think people could change until I met him."
Speaking with victims, however, had Mia concerned on the sentences that abusers receive.
She said: "The most shocking thing that I heard while filming the documentary was when I met Kirsty, Gemma's sister – Gemma was really badly beaten by her ex and the sentence was so minimal. He's out now, and it wasn't that long ago.
"She committed suicide. So she's lost her life because of what happened, and he's free now. Seeing the impact on her family was horrible.
"I think people are scared of going to prison, but looking at the sentences, there isn't enough fear. I think the sentences are so small. Some of these women take their own lives and nothing has been done about it."
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During the filming process, Mia attended therapy, having previously decided to push things to one side instead – and it was an incredible experience for her.
She said: "That was the first time I went to a counsellor and it was on camera. I usually handle things by shutting it out. I debated it for a while and people kept suggesting it, so I tried it.
"It helped me in ways I never imagined i would. I really try to handle my emotions now instead.
"For so long, I feel like domestic abuse has been a subject where people felt embarrassed or ashamed. The more people who talk about it, the better. I think that's happening now, more people are talking about it."
Making the documentary, Mia said the experience has been really overwhelming. Since speaking out about it, she's had an influx of people message her to share their own experiences, adding that she's realised how many people experience abuse.
Mia also confessed that her daughter was a big driving force into her decision to open up about her experience.
She said: "My daughter was a huge push, she's a girl, she'll grow into a woman. I hope she never goes through anything like that, but you can't wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from everything.
"I hope that by the time she's older it's so spoken about that women are standing up to speak out so that people aren't ashamed or embarrassed."
The reality star added that she was "excited" for people to see how far she has come as a person, adding that the documentary release is "bittersweet".
Watch Domestic Violence & Me: Mia’s Story on Wednesday at 9pm on MTV
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