Married At First Sight Fans Launch Petition Over “Triggering” Scenes

Brett MAFS
Channel 9

**Trigger warning: this article contains references to domestic violence and abusive behaviour. 

If you’ve been watching the current season of Married at First Sight, you’ll be familiar — and possibly traumatised — by the relationship between Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson.

Over the course of the marriage, Ruthven has displayed some concerning behaviours, all of which the gentle-natured Rawson keeps fairly quiet about, as she has confessed she has terrible abandonment issues and fears losing her husband.

Ruthven has been accused by fans and fellow MAFS participants of gaslighting his wife and the experts have spoken to him multiple times about his angry outbursts and how they make Rawson feel and, of course, everyone was horrified at the most recent commitment ceremony when he wrote “leave” but then crossed it out to vote to stay.

Now, it looks like thousands of viewers have had enough of the upsetting storylines and are calling on Channel 9 to take accountability.

A petition on states that “Melissa is being subjected to mental torture, very obviously to the viewer, creating a distressing viewing experience, especially those who are victims of DV relationships.

“She is being subject to gaslighting, emotional manipulation, isolation, and countless other TEXTBOOK signs of a controlling and or abusive relationship.”

Over 6500 people have so far signed the petition which also argues that Channel 9 has failed in its duty of care to viewers — especially those who have themselves been victims of domestic abuse — and that the couple is incredibly triggering and stressful to watch.

The petition comes in the wake 14 complaints being made to the Australian Communications and Media Authority about MAFS, four of them specifically about the worrying nature of Bryce and Melissa’s marriage.

It also follows the revelation made by fellow participant Rebecca Zemek who alleged that production of the show was shut down following an unwanted kiss from Bryce — which she said was worse in reality than how it appeared in the edit.

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also talk to someone from 1800RESPECT via online chat. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

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