The Duchess of Cornwall spoke about her work with domestic violence survivors earlier this week, saying that, “No one knows what goes on behind any front door.”
Camilla gave an exclusive interview to Rebecca English of the Daily Mail following a reception for SafeLives, a domestic violence charity which celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.
“It affects everybody,” Camilla says about domestic violence. “It doesn’t matter who you are. That would be my message to people: whoever you are, wherever you are from, there are organisations that can help you. Go and get help. Talk to them, just get up and talk about your experiences. They will help.”
As she told the Daily Mail, “I have known people I suspected it was happening to but they wouldn’t actually talk about it. People didn’t talk about it then. People feel guilty, they feel ashamed, they think it must be their fault. And I think you have got to convince people that it’s not their fault.
“You have got to get them to get up and talk about it and talk to other people about it. Then their confidence improves. To actually leave your home and somebody you have probably been with a long time is very brave.”
SafeLives works with organisations to help transform the way people respond to domestic violence. On its website, it lists its mandate as wanting “what you would want for your best friend. We listen to survivors, putting their voices at the heart of our thinking. We look at the whole picture for each individual and family to get the right help at the right time to make families everywhere safe and well. And we challenge perpetrators to change, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ rather than ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This applies whatever the gender of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship.”
Domestic violence survivor Rachel Williams, who had met Camilla in 2016 and was a guest at Wednesday’s reception, told the Daily Mail that “to have somebody like the duchess on board is amazing. We all do our little bit to raise awareness, but to have somebody in the royal arena to shout about our cause as well is fantastic.”
In a speech at the reception, Camilla said, “I visited SafeLives for the first time in 2016 and, as I have said on numerous occasions, that memorable day fired my interest in domestic abuse. I did know of people who had suffered from it, but I was both shocked, and horrified by just how many thousands of people across the world live with it.
“I had the privilege of hearing incredibly brave women (some of whom are here today) standing up to tell their stories. Harrowing stories that reduced many of us listeners to tears. But with each story that is told, the taboo around domestic abuse weakens and the silence that surrounds it is broken, so other sufferers can know that there is hope for them and they are not alone.”
She told the domestic violence survivors there that, “you give us all hope that those survivors can live their lives in peace, and be victors, not victims of these horrendous crimes, hopefully ensuring that domestic abuse can be made a crime of the past for ever.”