15 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out Against Domestic Violence

15 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out Against Domestic Violence

salma hayekIf you think you don't know anyone affected by domestic violence, think again: An estimated 1 in 3 women (and 1 in 4 men) have been suffered from some type of physical violence at the hands of an "intimate partner" in their lifetime. And domestic violence does not only describe physical abuse, as it also includes sexual and/or psychological violence and emotional abuse. Unfortunately, many people suffer in silence (typically out of fear or lack of resources to help them leave abusive situations). That's why it's so important for celebrities to use their fame and influence (and means) to speak out on behalf of those who can't.

Whether it's because they have firsthand experience with abuse or simply because they want to help others have a voice, more and more celebs -- including some of your favorite actors and musicians -- are doing their part to put a stop to domestic violence. Check out our slideshow to see what they're doing to help and how they're adding their voices to the conversation.


If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic abuse, you can find help and support at DVIS.org, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or by contacting your local women's shelter (domesticshelters.org).


Image via AXELLE WOUSSEN/Bauergriffin.com

  • Charlize Theron

    1

    When she was just 15, Charlize Theron watched as her mother, Gerda Maritz, was forced to fatally shoot her alcoholic, violent father in self-defense. In an interview with Piers Morgan, the actress opened up about surviving the traumatic event and years of abuse:

    It was the great tragedy of my life, I think what follows is ... you have to find where you want yourself to be, and how you want people to see you in this world, I had a parent who led me through the grief, shock and anger going through all of the emotional things that you do when you -- when something like this happens to you. But really kind of guided me towards not being a victim and not going through my life feeling victimized. You know, I'm incredibly saddened by that night and saddened by the event ... [but] no, it doesn’t haunt me. No, it doesn’t haunt me at all. I'm completely at peace.

  • Halle Berry

    2
    Image via Jackson Lee / Splash News

    After years of watching her mother suffer, Halle Berry is determined to help women escape that same fate.

    "I saw my mother battered and beaten many years of my life and I felt helpless," Berry said at a benefit for the Jenesse Center, a national domestic violence prevention organization.

    "And that's what connects me to this organization. I have an understanding, a knowing. I feel like I have something that I can impart to these women. It seems like I've overcome it, but I really haven't. In the quiet of my mind, I still struggle. So while I'm helping these women, I'm helping myself through it, too. And that's largely why I'm here." 

  • Rihanna

    3
    Image via Splash News

    Rihanna's abuse by her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, shocked the world (particularly the images of the singer's bruised, battered face).

    "It's not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can't just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously," the singer said in an interview with Vanity Fair.

    "But, for me, and anyone who's been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it? It didn't sit well with me."

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  • Angelina Jolie

    4

    As the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie has worked extensively with female survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. 

    "We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence," the actress said in a speech at the African Summit in 2015.

  • Christina Aguilera

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    Image via MasterClass/Splash News

    Christina Aguilera became passionate about fighting domestic violence after seeing it all around her as a kid.

    "It's a subject that really hits home with me because I've always been pretty vocal and open about my own experiences in witnessing domestic violence in the home and neighboring homes around me, so it was something that was pretty constant in my younger upbringing," she told Us Weekly.

    "It is a hush, hush subject. Not everybody likes to wear it on their sleeve and talk about it. It makes people uncomfortable and there's a lot of shame around it. But that's why for me, it's so important for me to speak my truth and helping others to find theirs and to find their own hope in a hopeless situation."

  • Tina Turner

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    Image via Cosima Scavolini / Splash News

    Music icon Tina Turner became an inspiration to women everywhere when she found the strength to leave her abusive and controlling husband, Ike Turner.

    "I didn't have anybody, really, no foundation in life, so I had to make my own way," Turner said.

    "Always, from the start. I had to go out in the world and become strong, to discover my mission in life."

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  • Mariah Carey

    7

    Mariah Carey's infamously volatile marriage to music executive Tommy Mottola inspired her to speak out on behalf of abused women.

    "Abuse has several categories -- emotionally, mentally, in other ways," Carey told Larry King.

    "For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life."

  • Salma Hayek

    8
    Image via AXELLE WOUSSEN/Bauergriffin.com

    Salma Hayek's childhood experiences taught her that domestic violence is complicated: 

    "Not every country in the world has a problem with hunger, but every place in the world has a problem with domestic violence," Hayek said at an anti-domestic violence event hosted by Avon.

    "The first time I saw domestic violence firsthand was when I was in Mexico, taking a walk with my family, and we came upon a man beating up this woman.

    "My father intervened and fought the man and won. I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, my father is a hero.' Then the woman turned around and started beating up my father. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. After that I became very intrigued with what makes a woman stay in an abusive relationship. How does her spirit break?"

  • Patrick Stewart

    9

    At Amnesty International in 2009, Patrick Stewart spoke about being forced to watch his father, a "weekend drunk," abuse his mother on a regular basis throughout his childhood. Domestic violence affects everyone, he said:

    "No one escapes the trauma of those experiences."

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  • Natasha Lyonne

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    Orange Is the New Black's Natasha Lyonne participated in a campaign by the No More foundation (and directed by Law & Order: SVU star and Joyful Heart Foundation founder Mariska Hargitay) calling attention to the plight of survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Hers specifically acknowledged male victims.

  • Nicole Kidman

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    Image via Headlinephoto / Splash News

    As UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Nicole Kidman has traveled across the globe to raise awareness about violence against women.

    "I have met with survivors and learned a lot about what works and what’s needed," she said.

    "I know that the law must protect women and girls to ensure their basic human right to a life free of violence and bring abusers to justice. I have seen the urgent need for services for survivors -- for safe houses, medical assistance, counseling, and legal advice."

  • Daniel Craig

    12

    Daniel Craig -- 007 himself! -- has appeared in several video campaigns to raise awareness about violence against women. In a PSA called "Equals," he summed up how everyone should react to seeing a woman being abused:

    "If I saw it happening I wouldn’t blame her, I’d help her."

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  • Reese Witherspoon

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    Image via Splash News

    Honorary chair of the Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Global Ambassador, Reese Witherspoon launched the Avon Women’s Empowerment Bracelet in honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day in 2011. 

    "The Avon Empowerment Bracelet is a simple, but powerful, way to raise funds to reduce violence against women," Reese said.

  • Annie Lennox

    14
    Image via Jen Lowery / Splash News

    In a 2015 article for the Guardian about why we must keep fighting for women's rights, Annie Lennox (who might be better as her stage name, St. Vincent) wrote that women and girls ages 15 to 44 are "more at risk from rape and domestic violence than they are war, cancer, malaria and traffic accidents."

    "Imagine a world where every female can actually realise her right to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work," she wrote.

    "For me, these are the essential goals of feminism; and ultimately the reason why men and boys must come on board to achieve this vision with us."

  • Ian Somerhalder

    15
    Image via Splash News

    In 2011, Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder joined the "Real Man" campaign against domestic violence, saying:

    "I wanted to take part in this campaign because it's so easy to forget the many women who live their lives in fear because of domestic violence. Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse their partners."

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