While it’s been several years since Halle Berry found herself in a physically violent relationship, the pain of the experience still lives on for the actress.
Speaking at the “Imagine” VIP cocktail party benefit for the Jenesse Center, a national domestic violence prevention and intervention organization, Berry confessed “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. And that’s largely why I’m here.”
Recounting the helplessness she felt seeing her mother “battered and beaten many years” of her life, Berry explained many domestic abuse victims feel the same way, particularly due to the lack of sympathy towards this issue.
“For some reason, I’ve found after 15 years of working with the Jenesse Center that when it comes to domestic violence people just say, ‘I don’t get it. Why don’t they just leave? This is ridiculous!’ I call [these women] addicts. They’re love addicts … they’re addicted to the pain. And they’re largely addicted to the pain because they’ve been taught nothing else. They haven’t been taught that they have self-worth or value. They often weren’t loved the way they should’ve been as children from their mothers or their fathers. People didn’t say the things they should have said.
“They go into the world feeling knee-high to a bullfrog … and they’re not equipped to deal with that that is coming at them at rapid speed. They quickly become victims of predators who just prey on their insecurity and lack of knowing who they are and I am just tired of watching the women in our community suffer. I’m tired of watching them overlooked and made wrong and to be villainized for just trying to survive.”
Berry, of course, can speak to that villainization quite well. Just this week two of her exes accused her of turning them into the “worst guys in history” for leaving their marriages for one reason or another. And in the arsenal of “crazy” accusations hurled at the actress for her doomed relationships, no one seems to take into account that fleeing a violent situation is actually something to be applauded, not criticized. Already, in other reports on her speech, commenters are accusing her of being disingenuous and speaking out on domestic violence victimization as a PR move. In spite of the gossip and pending divorce, Berry recently told Extra “I’m doing okay. I really am.”