ONE of the worst things about distressing news, when you are not directly involved in the event, can be the feeling of helplessness.

When the distressing news involves a celebrity it can be particularly difficult because we feel we know the famous person, we can identify with them, relate to them, feel affection and care towards them. We feel that our relation towards them reflects on us - this is partly why people become so emotionally involved with sports teams, because they align themselves with the successes and failures of the players.

When situations, in particular, are shocking and highly complex, people look for ways to feel that they are taking control and making a difference.

There is often a narrative line that says we can't let this happen again; something good must come from something so bad.

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Fans might set up an online petition. Maybe they'll start a hashtag trending or create a frame to circle their Facebook profile picture to publicise the issue and show support.

This is exactly what happened over the weekend following the news of the sudden death of Caroline Flack, a hugely popular household name who, with her girl-next-door approachability and her way of wearing her heart on her sleeve in interviews, was a celebrity people loved to love.

The expression "Be Kind" began trending in the wake of her death.

A suicide is always shocking and it always leaves loved ones, friends, family and fans with questions. What could we have done to prevent it? And why?

The "why" was answered very quickly on social media after the announcement of Ms Flack's death. Commentator after commenter blamed the media for hounding the television presenter, some going back to historic stories where she was criticised for her choice of partners to more recent stories about her impending trial for domestic abuse.

READ MORE: Obituary: Caroline Flack, former presenter of Love Island and winner of Strictly Come Dancing

While social media heaved with fury about the appalling intrusion into Ms Flack's personal life, the internet similarly heaved with stories about her death. Four of the Top 10 most read stories on the Guardian website on Sunday were about Caroline Flack.

Sky New's story about Love Island being pulled on Sunday night was the best read story across dozens of news websites. Two out of the Top 10 most read stories on the BBC News webpage were about Flack.

As an attempt to deflect from the damage of intrusive coverage, other media outlets rushed to blame the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with Ms Flack's trial, which was due to begin next month. Others blamed ITV for allowing the presenter to step down from her role in Love Island while criminal proceedings were ongoing, viewing this as unsupportive.

In the press we are asked to follow the Samaritans best practice guidelines for reporting on suicide. One of these is to avoid over-simplification of the causes of a person's suicide. Avoid, they say, suggesting that a single incident was the cause. The reality of suicide is complex and it is irresponsible to attribute a cause especially when, at this stage, all we know is that we don't know.

That's not to say we can't have conversations about the issues raised by Ms Flack's death. Of course we can.

One of those conversations is the troubling way people have been speaking online about domestic abuse. Ms Flack's charge was only ever alleged and will, of course, now never come to court. Speaking, though, not about Ms Flack's specific set of circumstances but about the dangerous myths that have been perpetuated in the past few days, it's clear that there is still a lot of public learning to be done.

There are myths about the dynamics of domestic abuse that we should have busted by now, yet clearly have not.

One such is the suggestion that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, or that domestic abuse is a family matter. It serves no one to keep domestic abuse a taboo subject. The issue has huge costs in terms of policing, hospital treatment, court proceedings and prison. More, it places a huge physical and psychological burden on victims, who are more common than you might think.

Domestic abuse can only be stopped when it is brought into the light, not hidden.

It's been commonly expressed that an act of violence can be equated to a "moment of vulnerability" - this follows the common myth that abusers just snap, that they suddenly lose control when inflamed by passion. Domestic abuse is not a loss of control, it is about a need for control. Abusers use fear, violence and threats of violence to exert power of their victims.

Comment after comment references the belief that if a victim does not want to press charges then the situation could not have been that serious. It is common for victims of domestic abuse not to want to press ahead with court proceedings. They may be being manipulated by their abuser, they may be fearful of retribution, they may be fearful of the court process.

It is highly unlikely to mean that the abuse did not happen or was not serious.

It is common, also, for abusive partners to be charming, well liked and well respected. Building up external credibility is part of how they exert control - it is hiding in plain sight.

One of the worst views expressed is that a bit of arguing is normal in a relationship. Violence must never, ever be normalised in relationships.

These myths serve only one purpose and that is to blame the victim. It's hard to imagine how difficult it must be to be a domestic abuse survivor and read such damaging misinformation laying the blame for your situation at your own feet.

If we are to be kind, that kindness must extend to empathy and insight for survivors, as well as alleged perpetrators