Angelina Jolie is continuing to be a voice for those who may not have one when it comes to the issue of domestic violence against women and children. The 45-year-old actress and humanitarian is a Special Envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and taking part in the U.N.’s 16 Days of Activism campaign – an initiative against gender-based violence. The Oscar winner has valuable advice for women and children who could be vulnerable to domestic violence over the holiday season, and shared it in an interview with Harpers Bazaar U.K., published on Dec. 7, 2020.
“Talk to someone. Try to find allies,” she told the publication. “Be connected for emergencies. For example, you can agree [sic] 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.”
Angelina also had advice for how to show support to a relative, friend or child who could be experiencing abuse during the holiday season. “If it has even crossed your mind that someone you know might be vulnerable in this way, try to stay close and present in their lives. Make it clear that you are there for them,” she explained.
“Another thing we can all do is educate ourselves. Learn about domestic violence. Learn how trauma affects our health and can lead to biological changes, particularly in children. Take these issues seriously,” Angelina continued. She added about DV victims, “Take it seriously and stand by them. 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.”
Angelina has become a passionate spokeswoman on the problem of domestic abuse of both women and children throughout 2020, especially due to the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine where they were more susceptible to becoming victims. On Apr. 9, Angelina wrote an essay for Time magazine about how kids were especially vulnerable, as “children are deprived of the very support networks that help them cope: from their friends and trusted teachers to after-school activities and visits to a beloved relative’s house that provide an escape from their abusive environment.”
In an Oct. 9 essay for the publication, Angelina took on how global progress for women’s rights was seeing setbacks due to the pandemic. But she also brought up the need for ways to help combat domestic violence, writing “We need more than a return to the status quo before the pandemic. At home, we need a far greater focus on safety: the prevention of domestic violence, greatly increased support and services for survivors including children exposed to violence and trauma, and a system that provides accountability.” Now she’s providing valuable advice again, this time for the holiday season.