Domestic violence is a topic that a lot of people shy away from, it can be uncomfortable to talk about, but the discussion is necessary. Silence only enables injustice. Unfortunately, many celebrities have experienced physical or verbal abuse, but luckily, they have been brave enough to speak out about it. Here are just a few of their stories.
In a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair, Rihanna opened up about the night before the 2009 Grammy’s, when her ex left her on the side of the street bruised and covered in blood. The event, publicized by TMZ, made her a poster child for domestic violence, which Riri does not understand. “It’s in the past, and I don’t want to say ‘Get over it,’ because it’s a very serious thing that is still relevant; it’s still real,” she said in her Vanity Fair interview. “A lot of women, a lot of young girls, are still going through it. A lot of young boys too. It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it was not anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it.”
An article by the Stylist focuses on the emotionally abusive and coercive relationship Mariah Carrey was involved in at a young age. When Carrey was in her early 20s, she married the boss of the record label she was signed to. He was 20 years older than her and very controlling and abusive. Mariah admitted on her E! Network show, Mariah’s World, she could not leave the house without permission and thought she would never be able to get out of her relationship. “I was with someone at the time that had a lot of control over my life, he was older than me by a lot and had a lot of power, and he wanted me to remain away from most people, like sequestered,” she said.
Reese Witherspoon recalls the time she realized she had to leave a “psychologically and verbally abusive relationship” on an episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. Witherspoon says she was very young and a completely different person, she did not have any self-esteem, and that made it harder to leave. “A line got drawn in the sand, and it got crossed, and my brain just switched, and I knew it was going to be very difficult, but I just couldn’t go any further,” said Witherspoon.
Ryan has not publicly shared the story about the night his ex-wife Naya Rivera hit him in the head and face, but he did call the police—something that can be difficult to do. An article from People gives all the details on Rivera’s misdemeanor domestic battery charge and $1000 PR bond. Rivera was arrested in Kanawha County, West Virginia, she and Dorsey were in his home town visiting his family for Thanksgiving.
Reporting domestic abuse is not an easy thing to do. It requires a lot of bravery and courage to admit to authorities and the public that your significant other betrayed the trust of your relationship and caused psychological or physical harm. But we can make it easier by erasing the stigma that follows domestic abuse cases, letting victims know they are supported and they are not alone. Although the conversation isn’t easy, it is necessary.
This article was written as part of HC at WVU’s Domestic Violence Awareness Week. If you or someone you know is struggling from a domestic violence situation, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.