Angelina Jolie is raising awareness for gender-based violence.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the UNHCR Special Envoy figurehead spoke about why she focused on violence against women during her speech at the International Conference on Action with Women and Peace last month.
According to UN Women, 243 million women and girls were abused by a partner over the past year and less than 40 per cent reported it.
“I value women. I can’t stand to see the immense and enduring suffering so many women face, and how little accountability there is. I see the same patterns repeated globally. Women are vulnerable because societies are unequal. Women and children suffer disproportionately as a result of war or economic crisis,” Jolie told the publication.
The actress added that “domestic or gender-based violence [is not taken] seriously enough anywhere.”
As part of the “16 Days of Activism” campaign, Jolie’s biggest piece of advice for those who think they know someone suffering is to “take it seriously and stand by them.”
“People often don’t want to see abuse, even when it is right in front of them, because it’s easier not to,” she said.
For those who are personally suffering abuse, Jolie suggested to “talk to someone. Try to find allies. Be connected for emergencies.”
Adding, “For example, you can agree 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. It’s sad to say, but you can’t 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.”
For those in Canada seeking help from domestic violence either for themself or someone else, you can call the Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868), Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 686868) or click here for more options.