16 Celebrities Who Support The Cause to End Violence Against Women

Ending violence against women isn’t the most “cuddly” of campaigns because to support and advance this cause is to face and acknowledge the ugly side of humanity. Indeed, the wall of silence and taboo still surrounding violence against women and the sheer scale of this most widespread of human rights issues often become an obstacle that prevents ordinary people, as well as celebrities, from getting actively involved with the cause.

The 16 celebrities who have made our list have overcome that obstacle with gusto, and have shown dedication, commitment and energy in the campaign to end violence against women, for good. All 16 celebrities have used their fame, influence and fund raising capacity in a positive way- and our blog post today goes some way to show our thanks for their efforts.

We have selected celebrities from the industries that have traditionally spawned celebrity culture including film, music and television because they are amongst the most visible influencers due to the ubiquity and power of popular culture. Indeed, these celebrities have used their popularity and high profile to shine a much-needed spotlight on the cause.

Of the 16 celebrities listed, we have included six male celebrities because men’s influence in the global push to stop gender-based violence cannot be underestimated and we strongly believe that men need to join forces with women to end violence against women. We have noticed hesitation from many male celebrities in getting on board the cause to speak out against violence against women and hope that the six men in this blog post will inspire other men, be they celebrities or regular guys, to join the cause.

In fact, did you know at the Pixel Project we have our very own Male Celebrity Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign where our mystery male role models include a Nobel Laureate, a Pulitzer Prize Winner and a world renowned environmentalist? Buy some pixels today and you will be able to find out who it is once the entire collage is revealed. All funds raised via pixel donations will be in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project.

And now, without further ado – here is our first ever list of 16 celebrities in alphabetical order!

Written by Angelique Mulholland; Edited by Regina Yau

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Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 1: Annie Lennox

International superstar and passionate, life-long women’s rights campaigner, Annie Lennox is renowned for her charity work, campaigning and advocacy on women’s rights. In April 2010 Annie signed a letter to UK government officials urging them to make a pledge an end global violence against women and make it a foreign policy priority.

In 2008, she presented a series of investigative reports of widespread violence against women in Africa, she commented: “Violence against women threatens the lives of more young women than cancer, malaria or war. It affects one in three women worldwide. It leaves women mentally scarred for life, and it is usually inflicted by a family member.”

In addition, Annie has also campaigned tirelessly for HIV/AIDS awareness and the links between sexual violence against women and the prevalence of the disease in Africa.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 2: Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is a UN ambassador for peace and a leader in the “Stop rape now” campaign. Stop Rape Now is a joint effort by a network of UN agencies known as UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict to prevent the use of rape as a tactic of war and respond effectively to the needs of survivors. As part of her ambassadorial work, Charlize visited the Democratic Republic of Congo -where an epidemic of sexual violence has left a generation of women physically and emotionally scarred by the brutality of war. Charlize commented:

“Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been beaten, tortured and raped—atrocities beyond anything that I have ever heard of or could imagine… For a problem so big and so complicated, where do you begin? What I have found and what I believe is that you begin somewhere, anywhere, but you must begin. You must act. As you read this, consider your humanity. Consider for one moment if you or your sister, your mother or your daughter lived in such a dire situation—then act.”

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 3: Daniel Craig

Famed for his role as James Bond, Daniel Craig showed his support for women’s human rights and equality on March 11th of this year, International Women’s Day, by featuring in a short film, “Are we equal?” created by Equality Now. Beginning the short film as James Bond, “the great lover of women”, he finishes the film in drag. Stepping into a woman’s shoes, he demonstrates the realities of being a woman in today’s world.

The great “lover of women” reminds us that women’s human rights are still seriously violated in every country in the world and are we are still far from being equal.

Daniel Craig produced this short film for free. He is now starring in the feature film “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo”. Based on a Swedish novel originally entitled, “Men who hate women”, the story follows a young woman who is violated by men, including her father, at a young age. With the help of a passionate journalist (Daniel Craig), she seeks justice.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 4: David Schwimmer 

David is a committed and life-long campaigner for victims of rape. He sits on the board of “The Rape Foundation in Santa Monica” and has been part of many educational campaigns against date rape drugs. He has spoken candidly about people close to him who are survivors of rape and incest:

“I’ve had two girlfriends who were victims of child sexual abuse, and one was also later a date-rape victim. That sensitised me to the issue in a way that I hadn’t been before.”

He recently produced and directed a film called “Trust”. This film follows the story of a 14 year old girl who is groomed on the internet by a paedophile and then raped. It expresses the deep seated horror and rage her father feels at the violation of his child, and him not being able to protect her. David speaks candidly about his disillusionment at a society which advocates the sexualisation of young women through popular culture and advertisement, but then fails to protect them from predators and paedophiles.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 5 : Ian Somerhalder

Known for his roles in high profile television series The Vampire Diaries and Lost, Ian Somerhalder took part in Womens Aid UK’s 2011 “The Real Man” campaign.

He commented: “I wanted to take part in this campaign because it’s so easy to forget the many women who live their lives in fear because of domestic violence.  Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse their partners.”

Ian is also a committed environmental and animal rights activist. He uses social media to connect with and positively influence his young fans. In recognition of his brilliant work, he has just picked up a ‘World of Good’ award at the Carmel Art and Film Festival.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 6: Jamelia

Jamelia signed her first record contract at 16 years old and over the last 12 years, the 30-year old R&B/pop singer-songwriter, television presenter and occasional model has had eight British Top 10 singles, won four Mobo awards, a Q award and received nine Brit nominations. One of a her chart topping singles was a powerful song called “Thank you.” The song chronicles the violence she endured at the hands of a former partner. Rather than anger and retribution, this song shows her the inner strength that years of abuse gave her to succeed in life.

“When I was with Teja’s father, I was beaten up almost every day and I honestly didn’t know that was not normal. I thought, I don’t want this for her, and left him.”

Now a spokesperson for single mothers, Jamelia champions their rights and criticises their unfair demonization within society. A single mother herself, Jamelia knows the pain of picking up the pieces of absent fathers, and abusive partners.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 7: Monique Coleman

Best known for her starring role in High School Musical, Monique is a committed philanthropist and active campaigner for an end to violence against women. A UN Youth Champion, Monique took 16 days of activism by storm by entering the twittersphere and tweeting about ending violence against women in the lead up to Nov 25th – Elimination of Violence Against Women Day.

A powerful role model to young women, Monique is a great asset to the global campaign to end violence against women.

Why not follow her on twitter? @gimmemotalk

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 8: Nicole Kidman

A UN goodwill ambassador for the Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and a passionate, life-long campaigner for women’s rights, Nicole Kidman has been outspoken advocate for women’s empowerment.

“Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable.”

The face of the online campaign “Say no to violence against women campaign”, Nicole has campaigned for decision makers of every Nation to make funding for end violence against women campaigns a top priority. Nicole commented, “In the real world, the laws go unenforced and impunity is the norm.”

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner 9: Oprah Winfrey

One of the 21st century’s most well-known philanthropists, Oprah Winfrey has used her fame and fortune to promote numerous causes, not least of which an end to violence against women. On her television programme “The Oprah Winfrey” show, Oprah has dedicated countless shows to helping victims of rape and incest. A victim of child abuse herself, Oprah is a powerful advocate for women’s empowerment.

In 1985 Oprah starred in the Stephen Speilberg film, “The Colour Purple”. A film based on a book by Alice Walker, which follows the story of a young girl who is raped and beaten by first of all her step father, and then her husband.

Oprah also famously made a public appeal to 20 year old R&B singer, Rihanna, to leave her then boyfriend Chris Brown, after he violently attacked her.

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 10: Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel became famous for being the vocalist in the hit band of the 80s “Genesis”. After leaving the band he became heavily involved in social activism with Amnesty International. In 1992 he co-founded WITNESS, a non-profit group that equips, trains and supports locally-based organizations worldwide to use video and the internet in human rights documentation and advocacy. As part of his on-going commitment to human rights he has supported many women’s rights organisations around the world and the 10 year long Amnesty campaign, “Stop Violence Against Women.”

This included supporting a global campaign to resolve the disappearances and murders of hundreds of women on the Mexico / U.S. border. In 2009, he met with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón to urge him to investigate and end the femicide.

He commented on his Human Rights work: “Those of us who have the eyes and ears of the media have a responsibility to amplify the voices of the voiceless.”

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 11: Reese Witherspoon

Reese is a committed and active campaigner in ending violence against women. She is an honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, which is a charity which aims to empower women and raise awareness of domestic violence.

In 2009, Witherspoon helped launch the Refuge campaign Four Ways to Speak Out against domestic violence. Reese called upon the UK government to do more to prevent violence against women: every year in the U.K, two women are killed by their partners.

Reese commented: “There remains what can seem like an impenetrable wall of silence around violence,” she said, “and we must all play a role in breaking this silence.”

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 12: Robin Wright Penn

Robin actively supports the Enough Project– a movement to end genocide and crimes against humanity. She is currently shooting a documentary in Bukavu, a city in the eastern part of the Congo where many of the atrocities against women – including rape, gang rape and mutilation- have gone unpunished.

“I’m going to Bukavu because that’s where the hospitals are,” she explained. “News stories report that thousands of women who are victims of rape and mutilation stream annually into the medical facilities.”

 

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 13: Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek, Mexican actress, is a powerful activist in raising awareness about violence against women and discrimination, particularly in immigrant communities. Her charity, the Salma Hayek Foundation, supports organizations giving aid to and raising awareness of victims of domestic violence. She also works with disadvantaged children on the streets of Mexico, helping them to overcome problems such as drugs, violence or lack of education.

Hayek says: “No woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone.”

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 14: Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw is not only a country music superstar, he is also a man with great integrity and commitment to ending violence agasint women.

Working with his wife, Faith Hill, he has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for battered women’s shelters in Tennessee. In August 2010, he received the True Ally Award at the 2010 Men Stopping Violence Annual Awards Ceremony.

 

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 15: Waris Dirie

Supermodel Waris Dirie is campaigning for an end to Female Genital Mutilation.  Backing the launch of a film highlighting the plight of young girls facing circumcision in the UK this year, she is supporting the project together with the Metropolitan Police in London to highlight the potentially fatal practice of female genital mutilation.

A victim of FGM herself, Dirie said: ‘Female genital mutilation targets little girls, baby girls – fragile angels who are helpless, who cannot fight back… It’s a crime against a child, a crime against humanity. It’s abuse. It’s absolutely criminal and we have to stop it.’

Celebrity Anti-VAW Campaigner Number 16: Will Young

Will Young, former Pop Idol turned successful solo artist is an active campaigner for victims of domestic violence. He became a Women’s Aid’s Ambassador in 2003 and has since dedicated a great deal of time to understand their work and help them out with fund raising. He raised money through a variety of contacts and performances- including an Ebay auction where he cleared out his wardrobe to raise money for charity! Will’s speech and press work at the launch of The Hideout in April 2005 greatly contributed the launch’s success, ensuring thousands more children knew that help was available through the site.

He also featured in the Real Man campaign, launched earlier this year by Women’s Aid to raise awareness about domestic violence. He said:

“I have been working with Women’s Aid since 2003 when I became the charity’s first Ambassador, and am so pleased to be able to be a part of the ‘Real Man’ campaign against domestic violence. I studied domestic violence at university and feel passionately that we need to raise awareness of violence against women and children and refuse to ignore it. Just by speaking out against domestic violence and being supportive of those directly affected we can all make a positive difference.”

20 thoughts on “16 Celebrities Who Support The Cause to End Violence Against Women

  1. I work with women and children who are victims of domestic violence and or sexual assult. I think it is great that these celebrities are also helping to put a stop to it. I wish we had people like them in our area to help too.

    • Absolutely, DV is everywhere and on the rise. I work for the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services in Dubbo NSW and we cover 9 courts some are in remote locations taking close to 5 hrs one way to get there. As close to half of DV incidents don’t get reported it saddens me these people are in danger. I wander if a celebrity appearance at our reclaim the night would encourage more victims to speak out. DV should be a community concern because it forms significant numbers in homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse. We need a helping hand and it’s great to see the celebs help.

      • I am a domestic Violence victim. It has been a huge dream of mine,(now that after yrs of suffering)..that I would be able to speak to women bc I KNOW what tormit & abuse DV intails. My story doesnt just end with that, I have pictures,court documents, the rapists reports,(etc) to not only show & HELP OTHERS by telling them my story, but my xhusbands family was very well off & I am not blessed with that luxury…I am however beyond blessed with KNOWING that although this same man, (my husband), who viciously abused & tormented me then used his familys money & bought me down so low that I had a severe nervous breakdown in court & he was granted temporary custody. I couldnt EVER imagine that would/could even happen to me. I was raised n a God fearing home & was raising my children n that same old time “Do Unto Others” doctrine,(if you will)..I not only want to/would LOVE to tell my story in the hopes of saving even one mother from allowing her husband to knock her down so low,that he can just go hire a good attorney,threaten to take your kids if you dont do as he says & use his connections to bring you into a courtroom setting where you/I felt JUST LIKE it was a lifetime movie & I kept thinking,”theres no way he can do this;”God knows I’m the best mother I can be”;Dont ever forget that money talks & sometimes when women get SOOO emotionally & physically abused, they dont even see it comming. I dont EVER say someone out there doesn’t have it worse than me, but I have yet to find a mother who has had Parential Alienation & Child Estraingment happen to her when she did nothing more than love an undeserving husband,the father of her children & couldn’t ever see the future nightmare bc she/(I) thought…”THAT WOULDN’T EVER-EVER HAPPEN TO ME!”

  2. I believe that Domestic abuse will continue for as long as divorce court abuse is allowed to continue. When it comes to legal abuse, we all have the same story with a different twist. I wrote “Dancing Around the Cracks; before, during and after Divorce Court” to break the silence of divorce court abuse, that often leads to other forms of abuse

    • I’ve read Eloise Johnson’s book and agree whole-heatedly (and as a survivor highly recommend this reading)! I hope our celebrity friends, as they continue this wonderful work for families in the world, can draw attention to the pervasive legal issues. We need the legislation to back a better court system for things to improve. There is much to be done!

    • I was thinking something similar today. As long as there is money to be made in family court, divorce court…abuse will surely continue, if not get worse. The way the family legal system is set up is made to break families down. Broke, angry, court dates spread over years, crazy orders and accusations accepted without warrant…any domestic violence would only increase. The “system” makes it easy for an abuser to ABUSE. So much money…too much money to be made off of a family’s despair.

  3. What a great article! Good list, a few I didn’t know where involved, and I was thrilled to see you include Waris Dirie, whose life story is incredible, beyond the significant work she’s doing to end the horrific tradition of female genital mutilation.

    We feature her story this month in the premiere issue of See Magazine: http://www.seemagazine.org/read

    Happy New Year to everyone,

    Lori

  4. First of all I want to thank all of you for 16 for 16. Secondly, I would like to tell you about a project I am working on in New Orleans. I have a Foundation, Lisa Ripp Foundation and I have a FB page that has allot of my story and what I’m trying to do. If you wouldn’t mind looking at it and helping me share it with others who may be able to help me see my vision complete, I would be so grateful. It would be wonderful if y9u could email me at lisakripp@charter.net and I could send all of the into I have.

    I don’t usually email strangers especially famous ones, I just felt like I would give it a shot.

    Thank you no matter what for all you have already done. My cell is 504.382.9265.

    Best regards,

    Lisa

  5. I just created a petition: PA LAW, NO VISITATION FOR AN ABUSIVE PARENT WITH A CHILD DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD: STOP VISITATIONS WITH THE ABUSER THAT CAUSED THE PTSD, because I care deeply about this very important issue.

    I’m trying to collect 1000000 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/pa-law-no-visitation-for-an-busive-parent-with-a-child-diagnosed-with-ptsd-stop-visitations-with-the-abuser-that-caused-the-ptsd?share_id=xXmupkCYFupe=pce

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

    FELICIA
    ————————————

    Looking for more ways to spread the word? Read our handy guide to promoting your petition on the web:
    http://www.change.org/guides/how-to-promote-your-petition

    Thanks,
    – The Change.org Team

  6. I appreciate everything all of you are doing to prevent Domestic Violence, especially since I left my husband of 28 years last year with my children. But, not to sound ungrateful, but the help needs to continue AFTER we have left. Yes, there are shelters (temporary) & services given to employed victims, but there is NO HELP or ASSISTANCE for someone like me, who has a full-time job, but it’s not enough to support a family (of 3) especially when you’ve applied for EVERY kind of assistance (just to make ends meet a little better) and have been turned down by EVERY ONE OF THEM, because I “make to much” – $48,000 with 4 dependents (husband is still a dependent – can’t divorce, I will have to support him), living in NJ with 1 child in college & the 2nd hoping to attend next year to pursue a degree in music management.
    ALL victims need help & direction for AFTER they have gotten the courage to leave the hell they were living.
    So again thank you for your support, but please help us survive our new lives so we don’t have to return to what will only be worse if we do.

  7. I know a young lady of a friend of mine. I don’t have the whole detailed, This young mother who just gave birth last Friday, Her husband whom she had married going on 3 years. He promised to fix her immigration status as soon he becomes a US citizen. etc, This man sleeps out everyday come home and stars verbally abuse his wife, knowing that she has no other pleace to go. because she has a two year old and now a newborn.

  8. My only daughter was murdered to domestic violence , when she was murdered she nearly three year old daughter was left with her mother’s lifeless body , trying to wake her up. I found my daughter’s brutally beaten and stabbed , than raped after the murder’s body the laying in that bed with my granddaughter trying to wake her up. If that wasn’t enough I had to be a main witness in her trail. Now that the trail is over and there is no getting my daughter back I hold fund raisers for two collations In my state of Rhode Island to help support Safe Homes for women and children. I’m holding a fund raiser in April and really need speaker to promote this into a special event . Thank you Michelle Lavallee please Google my daughter’s name and read her story Brooke Lee Verdoia again thank you

  9. As a Central Australian Visual and Performing Artists who is also and Advocate for Domestic Violence ,I want to congratulate all these arts for standing up as I have done and supporting the awareness of DV. I am a survivor enduring 15 years of abuse it took me awhile to not sit in silence , I now work at the local women’s shelter and give talks about my experience as well as sing the songs about my journey . There are many family out there that is still enduring DV thinking there is no way out . However as a community we can give them hope for change . I believe strongly that each time I share my story someone out there will not feel so isolate, alone it will give then a ray of hope and courage to decide on their future,

  10. Thank you so much David Schwimmer for doing this :) There is a reason why I am your biggest fan and this is one of them. God made you sweet and also gave the voice of conscience. Glad reading this awesome post, keep sharing more.

  11. I am NOT an advocate, I am a victim of DV. The sad part about being the victim, is that you always end up on the losing end. In 2010 I walked away from everything with the clothes on my back. I have been homeless for 4 years and I’m just hoping to move into an apartment this week or next week. I want to start a group in the town I live in Liberty Missouri for domestic violence. There is nothing around here for women too look to for help.I am still legally married and has been 22 years now I live with this man for 18. I survived two broken arms broken jaw be and still have not to mention the strangulation biting me punching me slapping me and I stayed because I didn’t have a choice. Dr Mobius from Camarillo stay hospital told me when I was 16 that I would end up marrying somebody who help me. This was the only man I had ever even dated that was like this but then again I married him after only 3 weeks of knowing. I hope somebody doesn’t answer this because I really do want to make a difference and I think it will make a difference for me thank you for listening

  12. I am spearheading a project to employ, empower, motivate, encourage, and provide work experience, job skills, and assistance into financial independence for abused women in my comminity in Texas. I could really use help and support. Without the abolity and self-confidence to be free financially, women will continue to rely on abusive men to survive. Abusive men prey on women who lack self-worth, lack the ability to set healthy boundaries and walk away, and lack job skills and experience to support themselves financially. Knowledge and training are needed, but so is actual work experience, resume assistance, and connections to employers with open positions and open hearts to understand, empathize with, work with, and encourage change in these women with emotional issues. Employers who care only about their profit margin and not about the people, as human beings, foster and implied support this trend of abuse towards women. We need more employers with a heart and passion to recognize that employees are no more objects to achieve a profit than e women are objects to these abusive men who prey on them.

    Please contact me at 254 723 1625, or by email at: hengstservicescorp@yahoo.com, to find out more and/or to support our initiative to provide employment and financial independence for women through supportive, empowering, life-changing, and compassionate employment to foster a trasition to real change and choices in abused women’s lives in every ccommunity across America, and worldwide.

    Thank you!

    Financial independence through actual, compassionate employment, and encouragement to think differently about themselves, is the key to ending the violence and abuse of women.

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