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X Factor star Jahmene Douglas grew up living in fear of abuse

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: April 26, 2013

X Factor runner-up Jahmene Douglas with members of the London Community Gospel Choir

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X Factor runner-up Jahmene Douglas has told how music became a "sanctuary" from the violence he saw as a child.

He appeared on Radio 2 to talk candidly about growing up living in fear of abuse and coping with the past.

Jahmene, who grew up in Peasedown St John and went to City of Bath College, came second in last year's X Factor competition and has since won a record deal with Sony.

The show highlighted the former Writhlington School pupil's singing and his emotive story.

It came to light while he was on the programme that his father, Eustace, had been jailed for a brutal attack on his mother in 2003.

His older brother Daniel later took his own life in Bath in 2008 after struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

Jahmene spoke to Clare Balding about finding faith, coping with domestic violence and his progress through X Factor.

He spoke of how religion gave him strength, and also appeared on the BBC's Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year final on Sunday, singing Eye is on the Sparrow.

Jahmene, 22, who is now a youth ambassador for Women's Aid, criticised the justice system, saying "things need to change, and protection for women needs to change, and families. I think living in fear is one of the worst things you can go through."

He said he hoped to raise money through music to help fund women's refuges and other facilities.

"The only reason why I've started this music career is I had music as a sanctuary as a kid and I want my music to be a sanctuary for someone else out there.

"I need to make enough money to pay the bills but after that, you can help other people out, there's no need to be greedy."

He is working on putting an information pack into schools, which helps show young people where to turn to for help.

"If children were to get this [information] in school, they would know their right from wrong and be brought up knowing domestic violence is wrong."

Jahmene is currently filming a new campaign with Women's Aid.

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