- Actress, filmmaker, and activist Angelina Jolie spoke to Harpers Bazaar about gender-based violence (GBV) and her advice for women fearing abuse during the holidays.
- The interview takes place within the context of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
- According to Jolie, it is her value for women and her hatred of the “immense” and “enduring suffering” that so many women face that motivates her work in this area.
“Women are vulnerable because societies are unequal […] We don’t take domestic or gender-based violence seriously enough anywhere, and we often overlook the trauma and injury suffered by children who witness or experience violence, in their own homes," the activist told the UK-based publication.
GBV in the workplace
According to the famous activist, one way for employees to make sure their company is supporting the 16 Days of Activism campaign is to check what the corporation does to support employees who are victims of GBV or intimate partner violence.
“But it’s even more fundamental than that. It’s on all of us,” said Jolie.
On the topic of supporting a colleague or friend who is suffering abuse, Jolie said it is important to stand by the person and to take the abuse seriously.
“Listen to them. Don’t judge them. Try to understand the huge emotional, financial and legal pressures they are likely facing, including the pressure to stay silent about what has happened to them. And be aware that they may well be suffering trauma and PTSD," she said.
Advice for women experiencing GBV
When it comes to advice for women fearing abuse over the holidays, Jolie emphasised the importance of speaking to someone and having an ally.
"Talk to someone. Try to find allies. Be connected for emergencies. For example, you can agree [to] a code word with a friend or family member, which tells them if you are facing an emergency. Begin to build a network and gain knowledge,” Jolie told Harpers Bazaar.
However, although sad, Jolie maintained that one cannot assume all friends and family will always want to believe and support you.
“Often it will be strangers who help. Or other victims, support groups, or faith groups. Above all, be careful. Only you really know the danger you are in, and until you find your support outside, you may feel quite alone," she said.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact one of the organisations below:
Gender-based violence Command Centre: “Please call me” facility: *120*7867# Emergency line: 0800 428 428
POWA helpline: 011 642 4345
SADAG has a WhatsApp counselling line that operates from 9am to 4pm: 076 882 2775
To speak to a SADAG counsellor: 0800 567 567
Tears Foundation helpline: *134*7355#
SOURCE: Harpers Bazaar
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