5 Celebrities Who Are Champions For Domestic Violence Survivors
In tonight's highly anticipated fight against Manny Pacquiao , Floyd Mayweather will make over $100 million. He estimates that he will make $200 million at least. Truly, those might be modest estimates. Let that sink in for a second. Personally, I think it's pretty disgusting that literally anyone would make that much money for a single event. There are certainly better places that money could be spent. I think it's even more distasteful that the event in question — the event that people around the world have chosen to collectively fund — is one where the goal is to watch one man give another brain damage in front of cheering fans. And perhaps grossest of all is that we are collectively giving that much wealth to a man who cannot keep his fists to himself outside of the ring.
Mayweather is someone whose history of domestic violence is well-known. With charges involving seven assaults against five women (and those are just the instances that resulted in arrest of citations. There are other incidents on record where the police were called but no charges were filed.), Mayweather has shown no remorse for his actions, claiming that since there were no pictures of his abuse, nothing has been proven. He even defended Ray Rice after the former Raven's running back assaulted his fiancee, Janay Palmer, last year. In other words, this guy is...just...the best. Ugh.
Yet, turning a blind eye to domestic violence is nothing new, especially when it comes to celebrities. Let's be honest: It's an incredibly difficult subject to discuss, and when it happens in celebrity circles and threatens the fantasy lives we project on them, it can be simultaneously harder to deal with and easier to push to the side. Domestic violence thrives in silence and shadows, but some celebrities have championed this cause and successfully raised their voices to bring the issue into the light.
Is there anything SVU's most wonderful detective can't do? (Sorry, Detective Stabler. We love you so much, and it was a close contest, we promise.) Hargitay started the Joyful Heart Foundation in response to letters she received from fans sharing their stories of assault and rape. Since the foundation was established in 2004, it has raised over $15 million to support its programs that have directly served nearly 14,000. In 2014, she directed fellow actors in No More's "Speechless" PSA campaign. No More also aired a heartbreaking and memorable Super Bowl ad this year.
Though his wrestling persona "Mankind" was anything but compassionate, former WWE Champion Mick Foley has dedicated both time and considerable financial support to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network). He is outspoken about his tireless fight to end violence against women, donating half the advance of his best-selling memoir to RAINN and launching the #10forRAINN hashtag which raised over $120,000 for the organization.
Duh. It's Oprah, you guys. I feel as though many of us think of Oprah as the Queen of Charity, but her commitment to ending domestic violence goes farther than you can imagine. In her 30 year career, she has brought the issue front and center on numerous occasions, enabling a public discourse that really wasn't happening before her. The important of these issues being brought to light in such a strong and powerful voice by a woman of color (women of color are disproportionately affected by domestic violence) cannot be overstated.
Sir Patrick Stewart grew up experiencing domestic violence firsthand; his father abused him and his mother. Young Stewart also found himself in the unenviable but all too common position of feeling as though he had to defend his mother by putting himself between her and his father's fist. He has bravely opened up about his devastating childhood experiences to raise awareness on the issue again and again, notably with Amnesty International.
Hayek has aligned herself with women's causes since she was 17 years old. In 2004, she reached out to the Avon Foundation in hopes that their infrastructure (the Avon Foundation for Women) could help her raise awareness about domestic violence. Though she no longer serves as the brand spokesperson, she continues to work with them as a foundation ambassador, and has spoken before the United Nations on the subject of domestic violence.
Images: Getty Images(6)