Actress Charlize Theron opened up about her experience with domestic violence and coping with the trauma through her adult life in a radio interview.
Talking to host Howard Stern, the “Monster” and “Mad Max” star confessed that she used to “pretend like it didn’t happen.”
Theron, 41, discussed the topic in 2004, revealing that her mother, Gerda, suffered physical abuse, while she experienced the emotional kind at the hands of her alcoholic father.
When the actress was 15, her mother shot her father in self-defense.
Since then, she had kept the incident a secret. “I didn’t want to tell anybody. Whenever anybody asked me, I said my dad died in a car accident. Who wants to tell that story? Nobody wants to tell that story.
“They don’t know how to respond to that. And I didn’t want to feel like a victim. I struggled with that for many years until I actually started therapy.”
She also explained that living through domestic violence was more traumatic than her father being killed. “I think what more affected me for my adult life…was more the everyday [life] of a child living in the house with an alcoholic and waking up not knowing what was going to happen…not knowing how my day was going to go and all of it dependent on somebody else and whether he was not going to drink or [not.]”
Theron only began seeking therapy when she was in her “late 20s, early 30s” and her mother helped her cope psychologically with the pain.
“I have an incredible mother… She’s a huge inspiration in my life. She’s never really had therapy,” Theron shared.
“Her philosophy was, ‘This is horrible. Acknowledge that this is horrible. Now make a choice. Will this define you? Are you going to sink or are you going to swim?’ That was it.”
“I think both of us have dealt with that night really well,” said Theron of being resilient with her mother. “I think both of us still have to deal with the life that we had—and that’s what people don’t really realize. It’s not just about what happened one night.”
In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that one-third of women have suffered from domestic violence. The organization identified a partner’s alcohol use as a risk factor behind violence. Niña V. Guno /ra
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