Angelina Jolie embraces this difficult part of parenting
It's a tough conversation that no one wants to have
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CELEBRITY Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is a shining example of someone who goes above and beyond to make a positive difference in the world, and she's been particularly active on the front lines against sexual violence. She even launched a global initiative in 2012 called Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI), which focuses on stopping assaults in conflict zones and erasing the social stigma faced by survivors. Now, she's bringing that fight to the home front.
In an interview with Marie Claire, Jolie revealed that she speaks openly to her children—17-year-old Maddox, 15-year-old Pax, 13-year-old Shiloh, and 10-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne—about the truth of sexual violence.
Naturally, this is not a conversation that parents want to have with their kids, but Jolie is doing her part to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the knowledge to protect themselves, continue the fight against the stigma, and prevent violence occurring to others.
That's why the actress emphasized, "I don’t just speak to my daughters. I speak to them with their brothers." Sexual violence doesn't just concern women, and Jolie ensures that her boys are equally as informed as her girls, even if they haven't all yet passed puberty.
"This is not just a problem for women, and the solution is working with women and men. And girls and boys. Not only are men and boys also victims of these crimes, but those who are perpetrating these crimes need to have other men remind them what it really is to be a man. A man with a healthy relationship to women," she continued. "And all societies need to be clear about not tolerating this behavior."
There are many ways to deal with sexual violence in society in a productive way, and to pass on the knowledge and tools even while still trying to protect your children from the harsh realities of the world. Jolie explains that telling stories through film is another good way to get the message across, and PSVI recently held a film festival called Fighting Stigma Through Film, which was aimed to specifically address the discrimination that survivors of war zone rape face.
"I do think film has the power to make us live inside another person’s experience in a way that is unique and different," she said. "But it is also a really important way of opening up a conversation, and saying that yes, these things happen or happened in our country and we need to address them. Too often after a war, sexual violence is the subject no one wants to talk about, that gets swept under the carpet. And if no one talks about it, there is no justice and no healing and no closure."
So take a page out of Jolie's book and get the conversation started, no matter how hard it may be.
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