The American Bar Association reports that approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year in the United States.
Those are staggering numbers. And considering that the majority of these assaults go unreported, and how many children are affected by witnessing these acts of violence, the end result is nothing less than horrific.
ActressÃ‚Â Halle Berry grew up in a household where she watched her mother suffer from domestic abuse. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still trying to cope with what she saw to this day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well you know honestly, I think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve spent my adult life dealing with the sense of low self esteem that implanted in me,Ã¢â‚¬Â Halle told CNN.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Somehow I felt not worthy.
Before IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Halle Berry – IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m little Halle growing up in this environment, that damaged me in some ways. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve spent my adult life trying to heal from that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As part of her healing process, Halle now volunteers atÃ‚Â Jenesse Center. A shelter for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I come here sometimes and I see the kids, I play with the children. So IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just regular old crackers to them, and I love just being regular old crackers, I have to say,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
TheÃ‚Â Oscar winner gets more fulfillment out of her volunteer work than any movie role.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have a spot in my soul that understands the devastation that this causes a family. And how hard it is to rebuild your self esteem when you have suffered,Ã¢â‚¬Â the actress explained.
Part of her volunteer work includes helping to rebuild run down apartments and homes, so women who leave abusive relationships have somewhere to go.
Halle has a message for anyone who feels trapped in a relationship where there is abuse.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Get out – donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stay a moment longer. If thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no shelter, go to a friend, go to the police station, go somewhere, but go.Ã¢â‚¬Â