Powerful pollywood duo unites at World Conference of Women’s Shelters to raise awareness for domestic violence.
By John Arundel
There are probably no two human beings on Planet Earth today who can make the men cheer and the women swoon (and vice versa) better than the perky Reese Witherspoon and commander-of-all-crowds Bill Clinton.
And there they were last Wednesday Feb. 29 at National Harbor, the two modern legends of screen and politics in flesh and living color, putting the much-needed spotlight on battered women at the World Conference of Women’s Shelters at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center.
Witherspoon, an Avon Global Ambassador, spoke about the realities of domestic violence before presenting this year’s Avon Communications Awards.
“As a mother, daughter and a sister, I cannot accept the fact that one in three women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime,” she said.
The Oscar-winning actress told the audience that she has even talked about domestic violence with her children Ava, 12, and Deacon, 8.
Though she said that her kids were shocked to hear how one in three women are abused in this country, Witherspoon said it was important for them to be aware of the problem, especially her daughter who is almost old enough date.
At a time when bullies are responding with violence, she said parents must educate themselves and their children about social media and “what constitutes harassment, what is acceptable and what is not.”
Domestic violence is a topic in many songs, including Miranda Lambert‘s “Gunpowder and Lead,” where she sings about shooting an abusive husband.
“These songs create retaliation fantasies, which are a very important part of our psychology,” she said. “But they don’t replace the effectiveness of going public about domestic violence..Talking publicly creates empowerment among women and helps them feel they’re not alone. It gives them the courage to go to a shelter or take legal action that could save their lives.”
Former Prez Bill Clinton was the conference’s special surprise guest last Wednesday. “What you’re doing today, just remember this, every time you take in a woman who’s been beaten … you are striking a blow against one of the oldest problems in human kind,” Clinton said.
Also attending were actress Natasha Bedingfiled, Avon chair and CEO Andrea Jung, Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation, Henrique Duarte, Delta Goodrem, Lea Salonga, Theresa Balayon, and Lisa King.
Later at the luncheon, Witherspoon presented awards to global leaders in the fight against domestic violence at the first-ever Avon Communication Awards.
“I’m proud to be honorary chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women, an organization that has the conscience and the courage to tackle the quiet epidemic of violence against women around the world,” Witherspoon said. “I have the privilege to present demonstrate that violence against women is a global tragedy affecting women of every class, race and ethnicity.”
Read more about the winners on the Avon Foundation website.