These Awesome Celebs Aren't Afraid To Speak Up About Violence Against Women
In December 2009, more than 100 celebrities added their name to the United States Department of Justice’s ‘Join the List’ initiative to raise awareness about violence against women. The list included some of our fave celebs, from Amy Poehler and Emily Blunt to Kevin Spacey, Whoopi Goldberg and actual literal Hollywood goddess Meryl Streep.
As today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we thought we’d take a look at some celebs who have gone above and beyond to speak out for the cause.
Not only is Charlize unbelievably talented and drop-dead gorgeous, she founded her own charity in 2007 and she’s an United Nations Messenger of Peace. Could she be more of a babe? Charlize is fully aware of the horrors of domestic abuse herself as she saw her abused mother kill her father in self-defense when she was younger, and she travelled to the DRC in 2009 and 2011 to raise awareness about violence against women.
In a 1999 advert called “Real Men Don’t Rape” she talks about the high numbers of rape in South Africa and ends by saying she didn’t know how to describe what the “men in South Africa are like” as “there seem to be so few of them out there”.
In 2009, actor Patrick Stewart (aka X-Men’s Professor X) delivered a now infamous speech at Amnesty International, where he revealed that his father was a ‘weekend drunk’ who abused his mother from Friday to Sunday right in front of him.
It started when he was five years old and he said he became an expert in the process of domestic violence, something a child should never be. Sir Patrick told the audience that domestic violence affects everyone because “no one escapes the trauma of those experiences”.
Nicole has been the UNIFEM Good Will Ambassador and the spokesperson for the UN’s Initiative “Say No - Unite to End Violence Against Women”. In an article on the UN Women website last year, she wrote, “at the heart of this pandemic of violence against women is the deep rooted inequality between the sexes. We need to rethink and reshape what it means to be a boy or a girl, a man or a woman”.
Nicole mentioned her own children, stating that in order to change the future we must start by teaching the children of today how to treat others with respect.
The man behind Ross Geller wrote, produced and directed a play called ‘Trust’, all about the sexual abuse of a young girl. Violence against women is something that he feels incredibly strongly about, as he revealed that two of his ex-girlfriends experienced sexual abuse as children.
David is also on the board of directors for the Rape Foundation in Santa Monica and pushes the importance of men accepting their responsibility on the subject. He said “it’s as much a man’s issue as it is a woman’s issue” – we couldn’t agree more… and we couldn’t love David more, either.
As the honorary chair of the Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Global Ambassador, Reese has done a great deal for the campaign to stop violence against women. On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in 2011, Reese launched the ‘empowerment bracelet’ to raise funds specifically for the work the Avon Foundation does for women suffering from abuse. The bracelet had an infinity charm on it to represent the limitless lives that women could lead without being subject to violence.
Like Nicole, Reese draws on her role as a mother in speaking up for the cause, saying “as a woman and as a mother, I urge you to join me… to end this epidemic” to emphasize that the issue affects everyone, not just direct victims.
As the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina has met many female survivors of sexual violence and has commented that they are “some of the most formidable and impressive people I have ever met”.
She urges that these victims “deserve better than to be left alone to suffer”. At a speech at the African Summit this year, Angelina spoke passionately about how the global epidemic of violence against women is “still treated as a lesser crime and a lower priority”.
007 himself has appeared in several video campaigns that raise awareness about violence against women. In 2011, he and Judi Dench released a video involving Craig dressed up in drag in order to highlight the differences between the lives of men and women, and encourage men to see things from a woman’s perspective.
Last year he was also one of the Hollywood stars who featured in a minute-long PSA for the White House about sexual violence. In the video he calmly states, “if I saw it happening I wouldn’t blame her, I’d help her”.
The fight to end violence against women is a colossal one, with 1 in 3 modern day women experiencing a form of abuse at some time in her life. But at least we know that with celebs like these bringing the issue forward into the spotlight, the future does look just a little bit brighter.