According to reports, nearly 20 people in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. This equates to more than 10 million women and men in a single year. One in every four women and one in every nine men had experienced severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contacts sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with serious consequences such as injury. Domestic abuse can affect everyone, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic background, occupation, or status.
Domestic Abuse Awareness Month (DVAM) was founded worldwide in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while increasing awareness for those concerns, according to NCADV. Many Americans live in terror on a daily basis, in their homes, schools and elsewhere. It is essential to educate and raise awareness about domestic abuse.
Many celebrity victims have shared their personal experiences in order to raise awareness. Here are some fearless and courageous celebrities that have survived domestic violence.
In 1976 Tina divorced her husband Ike. Turner abused this musical legend for several years. Tina discussed the years of abuse in an Documentary on HBO. When Tina objected to the touring plans Ike had made for the band while she was expecting Ronnie, their son, according to Turner in her People interview, Ike retaliated by striking her with a shoe stretcher.
“Maybe I was brainwashed. I was afraid of him, and I cared what happened to him. And I knew that if I left, there was no one to sing,” Turner says in the audio. Her ex-husband, passed in 2007, Turner says she has forgiven him. “Forgiving means not to hold on,” she says “You let it go.”
A surprising and disturbing situation made headlines almost 13 years ago. Grammy-winning singer Rihanna suffered a violent assault from her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009. “I just never understood that, like how the victim gets punished over and over,” Rihanna stated in an interview with Vanity Fair. An L.A. cop claimed under oath that Chris Brown repeatedly hit Rihanna in the face and arm while driving their rental down the street, biting her ear as well. But Rihanna makes a point of putting the past behind her and concentrating on the present. She adamantly stated to Vanity Fair, “I will care about him until the day I die. We’re not friends, but it’s not like we’re enemies. We don’t have much of a relationship now.”
Berry has publicly said that she is a “victim of domestic violence.” In 1996, the talented actress told PEOPLE that an ex-boyfriend perforated her eardrum while beating her. Halle has volunteered with Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention organization, for many years. Following her experiences, Halle Berry stated that one of her life’s goals is “to help others, especially women.”
She remarked, while speaking at a gala for the Jenesse Center, “I saw my mother battered and beaten many years of my life and I felt helpless.” She continued, “And that’s what connects me to this organization. I have an understanding, a knowing. I feel like I have something that I can impart to these women. It seems like I’ve overcome it, but I really haven’t. In the quiet of my mind, I still struggle. So, while I’m helping these women, I’m helping myself through it, too.”
Givens married retired heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in February 1988. However, after allegations of physical violence, she filed for divorce from him eight months later. It is commonly known that Tyson revealed to Oprah in 2009 that “I have socked her before, and she socked me before, as well. It was just that kind of relationship.” Givens made several scathing charges against the heavyweight boxing champion during a joint appearance with Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20, characterizing their marriage as “a disaster” and that he is a “manic man.”
In her album Talk A Good Game, Kelly Rowland revealed a lot about her history. In particular, the song “Dirty Laundry.” She wrote it to express the sorrow she had experienced in the past. She suffered physical abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, damaging her ties with Beyoncé and her family. When Rowland’s claimed abuser “entrapped” her, she claims he convinced her that nobody else loved her, including her mother and Beyoncé, thereby turning her longtime friend against her. Following Beyoncé and Kelly’s reconciliation, she’s now happily married with kids.
Keke Wyatt requested a divorce from her husband in 2009, after detailing the years of mistreatment she experienced. Keke once used stabbing her ex-husband as a means of self-defense. “It was a tragic scenario, and I wanted to keep my kids safe,” she said in an interview with Essence. Wyatt is currently concentrating on building an environment free of abuse for herself and her children. The artist is currently a spokesman for the “YELL Confidence” program of the Saving Our Daughters group, which aims to empower young moms and single mothers who have endured domestic and dating abuse.
In August 2012, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Basketball Wives Star Evelynn Lozada got into a dispute. Johnson was taken into custody and charged with domestic abuse. Soon after, Lozada requested a divorce. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and the two sides came to a plea deal that included probation for a year. The Miami Dolphins released Johnson following his arrest, and VH1 never aired the reality TV show featuring the two of them. In 2020, on The Real Lozada said, “My heart goes out to the victim, and I know people, please don’t tweet me telling me ‘This happened 4 years ago, get over it.’ It’s something that stays with you forever.”
According to Tyler Perry’s 2009 account to PEOPLE, he was exposed to domestic violence at a young age. He discussed his mother’s futile attempts to leave his abusive father. Perry continues by recounting the story of how a friend’s father assaulted him. Then he told them about his own father abusing a friend. But it doesn’t stop him from teaching one of his principles, which is “learning to forgive.” Perry mentions, “I know that there are a lot of people out there with stories far worse than mine but you, too, can make it. To those of you who have, welcome to life. I celebrate you.”
Earlier this year, on a segment of I GOT QUESTIONS, Reality star and entrepreneur Angela Simmons spoke to MADAMENOIRE about the impact of domestic violence on young women. Simmons’ own experience with intimate partner violence is catalyst for starting a support program for young girls to tackle DV.
Visit NCADV here for detailed information. Contact the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline online or by calling 1-800-799-7233 for immediate assistance.
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