Domestic violence doesn’t choose status, levels of success, country, religion and even age or gender. This is a group of women celebrities that have spoken publicly about domestic violence and some of them were victims of it.
1. Kerry Washington
In an interview with CNN, Kerry Washington said, “The most important thing to know is there is a way out. That there is a way to learn how to become financially self-supporting and take care of yourself so that you can make decisions for yourself that are empowering.” She also works with the Purple Purse Campaign, which helps women in domestic violence relationships with the financial support they need to move towards independence.
2. Robin Givens
Robin Givens is a very famous survivor of domestic violence, including physical abuse, caused by her then-husband, boxer Mike Tyson during their marriage back in the 80s. Givens has been very open about her experience in that violent relationship.
3. Charlize Theron
Actress Charlize Theron is an advocate for women and girls that grew up in domestic violence environments. At the age of 15 she witnessed her mother kill her father in self-defense.
4. Tamron Hall
Tamron Hall is a host for NBC’s “Today” show and also an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse. Tamron Hall’s sister died as a result of an abusive relationship. Her public speaking is mostly directed to family members who have a loved one in an abusive relationship. She also started the Tamron Renate Hall Fund to help survivors of domestic abuse.
5. Amber Tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn is an actress, poet and a Time’s Up co-founder. She posted her story of living through an abusive relationship on social media, and openly talked about the shame and embarrassment she felt and how she feared her parents and family would react to the news. She’s a great example of someone that put it out there and helped many other women with her story and activism.
6. Nicole Kidman
Besides being a UN goodwill ambassador for the Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and a passionate advocate for women’s rights, Nicole Kidman has also been an advocate for women’s empowerment. “Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable”, she said. On her most recent work on the series “Big Little Lies” she plays a woman that is victim of domestic violence, and shows that even though you have a perfect life, there’s always space for abuse and fear.
7. Reese Witherspoon
Reese is not just a great actor but also very active in ending violence against women. She’s also an honorary chair of the Avon Foundation that empowers women and raises awareness of domestic violence. In 2009, Reese Witherspoon helped launch the Refuge campaign “Four Ways to Speak Out” against domestic violence. Reese said: “There remains what can seem like an impenetrable wall of silence around violenceand we must all play a role in breaking this silence.”
8. Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek said: “No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone.” The actress is a very fierce activist in raising awareness regarding violence against women and discrimination, especially in immigrant communities. She has her own organization, the Salma Hayek Foundation that aids and raises awareness for victims of domestic violence.
9. April Hernandez-Castillo
April Hernandez-Castillo is an actress. She has told her story of a boyfriend that used to abuse her physically and emotionally. But just like any other person, the shame kept her from talking about it with anyone, so she remained in the abusive relationship for more than 3 years. April said: “When survivors of domestic partner violence enter into these relationships, they often see their partner as tender and passionate, and place them at the center of their universe”.
10. Debbi Morgan
Emmy award-winning actress Debbi Morgan is a woman who lived with domestic violence for most of her life. The actress shared her story on an Oprah Show, where she recalls her father kicking down a front door and trying to choke her mother. Debbi said: “My mother was trying to scream, but she couldn’t get anything out. It was terrifying to see that as a little girl”. But even after a childhood of abuse, she ended up marrying an abusive man. Morgan has written a book called “The Monkey on My Back”, where she tells her story.
11. Mariska Hargitay
Her role as Detective Olivia Benson on the TV show “Law & Order” has obviously turned Mariska Hargitay into an activist. She founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that helps survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as the professionals who help them. Mariska Hargitay said “When I first did research for my role on SVU, I couldn’t believe the statistics on abuse — and the letters I’d get from viewers disclosing their own stories”.
She’s not just a talented singer and a fashionista, in 2009 Rihanna generated one of the biggest talks about domestic violence when her boyfriend at the time, the rap artist Chris Brown, tried to push her out of his car. He banged her head against a passenger window and punched her, leaving her bruised the night before the Grammy awards. Rihanna had her assistant call the police, who arrested Brown and charged him with two felonies.
13. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey was married to her first husband, Tommy Mottola, during 5 years until 1998. But it was only in 2009 that she told Larry King, “Abuse has several categories - emotionally, mentally, in other ways. 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.”
14. Amber Heard
Amber Heard was married toJohnny Depp and later accused the famous actor of physical assaults against her during their marriage, explaining that alcoholism and drug abuse were the main instigators of such behavior.
15. Monique Coleman
Monique Coleman is a devoted philanthropist and outspoken advocate for ending violence against women, a powerful role model to the young women of today. She said: “If every young person pursued their greatest passion and then said, 'what part of this can be applied to social good?' You don't have to choose between being successful and being a philanthropist.”
Shakira reportedly suffered physical abuse by a former boyfriend.
17. Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is a very famous actress and she said “Thousands of women and children are frightened to be at home, the one place where they should feel safe. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. Domestic violence won’t stop unless we all speak out against it. We can’t let it go on all around us and not do anything about it. This is a problem that kills people.”
18. Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne is a radio DJ, model, television presenter, author, singer and comedian and she said “It’s shocking to think that one quarter of all the women I know could experience domestic violence at some point in their lives – and that some of them could be going through it right now. I’m really proud to be an ambassador for Refuge – it’s a charity that saves and changes the lives of women and children.”
19. Evelyn Lozada
Evelyn Lozada suffered abuse at the hands of her ex-husband Chad Johnson. After a segment about Kansas City Chiefs’ player Tyreek Hill pleading guilty to assaulting his pregnant girlfriend, Lozada told the audience, "My heart goes out to the victim and I know people, please don’t tweet me telling me 'This happened 4 years ago, get over it.' It’s something that stays with you forever, okay. So, my thing, my main concern is for the victim," adding, "Honor yourself and do the right thing because we all know, if it happens once, it’s going to happen again."
20. NeNe Leakes
The reality star talked on E! about the abuse she faced at the hands of her son Bryson's father, and said: "The first person to really say ‘I love you’ a lot became my abuser. He hit me and then later on he would say ‘I love you’ and I thought that this must be what love is." After an insane situation in which Leakes was forced out of the house at gunpoint she realized, "I cannot do this any longer for the sake of me and my child."
21. Keke Wyatt
Singer KeKe Wyatt spoke to ESSENCE about her experience in an abusive relationship and when she was forced to stab her ex-husband in self-defense, "People won’t understand until they walk in my shoes. I felt so bad for what I did, but I couldn’t let it consume me. It was my faith in God, and my family that helped me through this. Those are the people that really know what happened, and they don’t judge me."