On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, while one person is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds. Intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking alone exceed $5.8 billion in cost each year with the CDC estimating nearly $4.1 billion of which is direct medical and mental health care services.
Domestic and sexual violence are prevalent, community-wide issues. As these celebrities remind us, they do not discriminate and know no race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic background.
Sir Patrick Stewart
“I knew the exact moment when I should move to put myself between my father’s fist and my mother’s body – a skill no child should have to acquire.”
Police statements like “She must have provoked him” or “it takes two to make a fight” are permanently fixed in Sir Patrick Stewart’s childhood. A young boy when his father returned home from WWII, Stewart raises awareness of domestic violence in recounting the violence that followed his father home.
He shares how he would lay awake through the night on the weekends, listening for his father to arrive home and ultimately retire. Stewart has also disclosed that he learned to judge when his father’s verbal abuse would turn physical, allowing him to insert himself between the two to protect his mother.
Born from a one-time fling between two teenagers, Oprah Winfrey spent her early years growing up on her grandmother’s farm. Despite limited funds and the home lacking running water, Winfrey reportedly enjoyed the wide open spaces. At six years old, the now award-winning talk show host was relocated to Wisconsin where she came to live with her mother.
At 9 years old, living in Milwaukee while staying at her uncles home, Oprah was raped by her 19-year-old cousin who then took her for ice cream and convinced her not to speak to anyone. It took 12 years for her to share her story and, throughout this time, she struggled with identifying her self worth.
In an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah shares her experience. “When you are sexually violated, it’s not the physical act that destroys you. It’s the weight of the secret you feel you have to keep, the person you have to become, so no one will discover what you’re hiding.”
“What I started to do is untie the strings and chase them down to where they came from. And I was able to free myself and understand that even though these things happened to me, it was not me.”
Before his success as an actor, director, producer, and writer, Tyler Perry grew up experiencing what he has disclosed as severe emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father.
Despite his mother’s attempts to protect him, Perry has disclosed several instances of his father’s abuse that include an altercation when he was tackled and beaten while he and his father changed a tire. He has gone on record saying that, despite his father’s inability to take ownership of his actions, he has forgiven him.
When asked by Oprah what the most difficult decision she has had to make to fulfill her destiny was, Reese Witherspoon openly responded with leaving an abusive relationship.
Witherspoon is a poignant example of an individuals right to take back the power and control an abuser has stolen. While she has elected to not name her abuser publicly, she has disclosed the psychological and verbal trauma that she experienced in her younger years.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein and rise of the #MeToo movement, Witherspoon has publicly disclosed the director sexually assaulted her at the age of 16.
“And I wish I could tell you that that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly, it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault, and I don’t speak about them very often, but after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight, the things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I felt less alone this week than I’ve ever felt in my entire career.”
If you have experienced or are experiencing sexual or domestic violence, it is not your fault. We are here for you. Contact us today by calling 812-422-9372 to request emergency shelter or speak with an advocate.