Actor says playing role of abused wife gave her new insight and hardened her stance on the issue
This is a shocking statistic: “…for every three months that lockdowns continue, an additional 15 million women around the world are expected to be affected by violence”. Nicole Kidman speaks out against gender-based violence after playing an abused wife.
Reprinted from the Guardian, by Alexandra Topping – 2020-12-22
Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies. ‘I felt very exposed and vulnerable and deeply humiliated at times as I told her story.’ Photograph: AP
Writing exclusively for the Guardian in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, she said playing the role of Celeste, a lawyer who is emotionally and physically abused by her husband, strengthened her stance on the issue.
“I felt very exposed and vulnerable and deeply humiliated as I told her story – even though playing that character is nothing compared to what women in abusive relationships actually face every single day,” she wrote.
“But then I would recall the stories of strength and resilience of the survivors and activists I had met, and that pushed me to lend my voice to those who do not have a platform to share their own.”
The actor called on individuals to take personal responsibility for helping victims of the “shadow pandemic” of domestic abuse, reaching out to friends they may be concerned about. She encouraged people to use their own social media channels to spread awareness of “the women and girls who […] have to shelter at home to stay safe from Covid-19, when home itself is not a safe place,” adding that for every three months that lockdowns continue, an additional 15 million women around the world are expected to be affected by violence.
“Your voice counts,” she wrote. “Learn about abuse and the ways you can help through the services and resources available. Reach out if you are concerned about a friend who may be experiencing violence or feels unsafe. Use your social media channels or community spaces to raise awareness. .”
One in five offences – more than a quarter of a million – recorded by police during and immediately after the first national lockdown in England and Wales involved domestic abuse, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Kidman noted there had been a rise in all types of violence against women and girls including street harassment, cyberbullying, and an uptick in forced marriage as increased financial burdens lead families to remove girls from school.
“Violence against women and girls was already widespread before the pandemic.,” she wrote. “Whether it will outlive it, or not, it’s on us all.”
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