Angelina Jolie is one of the most talked-about women in the world, making viral news for everything from her new Marvel role to her separation from Brad Pitt, with the couple finally announced to be single last year (three years after filing for divorce), choosing to ‘bifurcate’ their marriage.
It’s her role as philanthropist amid the coronavirus pandemic that has made the most news this year. And this month, it was her words that went viral, as the Academy Award winner who is a UNHCR Special Envoy made a powerful speech about gender-based violence.
‘The truth is, a woman’s life does not rank equally with a man’s, far more universally than we are willing to admit,’ Angelina Jolie announced during the 2nd International Conference on Action with Women and Peace in Seoul. ‘Conflict-related sexual violence is a manifestation of this reality.’
She went on to explain that political leaders believing in rights for women and girls only to a point ‘means that gender equality is still at least a century away, that domestic violence has grown sharply worse during the pandemic, and that the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution — over half of them women and children — has doubled in a decade.’
Speaking directly to sufferers of abuse, Angelina Jolie sent a message in her interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
‘Talk to someone. Try to find allies. Be connected for emergencies,’ she advised. ‘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.’
If you are suffering from abuse, contact REFUGE via the freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm)