Camilla discusses domestic abuse to inspire people to lift ‘shroud of silence’

The Duchess of Cornwall will join the Women of the World online festival in a pre-recorded discussion on Saturday.

The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall said she hoped to “lift the shroud of silence” surrounding domestic abuse, as she joins the Women of the World (Wow) online festival this weekend.

In a pre-recorded discussion, which will be streamed online on Saturday at 6pm on the Wow Foundation website, Camilla spoke about how she was inspired to bring people together to tackle the problem upon hearing survivors’ stories.

“It’s not a nice subject to talk about and I think that’s been one of its problems,” she said. “It’s been a taboo subject for so long that people just haven’t talked about it.

“As I’ve said before, silence is corrosive because it leaves the victims feeling both shame and blame.

“I wanted to lift the shroud of this silence, and get more women, children and men to talk about their experiences.

“And it is happening in a slow way, but it is such a traumatic experience that I think it becomes sort of locked into a compartment inside them, and it’s very difficult to find the key to unlocking.”

The discussion also marks the duchess officially taking on the role of patron at SafeLives, a domestic abuse charity which she has worked closely with in the last four years.

SafeLives charity reception
The Duchess of Cornwall at a reception for the 15th anniversary of the domestic abuse charity SafeLives (Eamonn McCormack/PA Wire)

Suzanne Jacob, chief executive at SafeLives, said: “The way that she speaks to people directly and really listens, unravels some of the harm, the terrible harm that abusive people do to the people they are supposed to love the most.

“They tell them that they don’t matter, that nobody cares about them, that nobody will believe them, and Her Royal Highness is making it absolutely clear that that is not true.”

Wow founder Jude Kelly added: “I know that Suzanne and the charity are immensely grateful and it’s going to mean that you can carry on being a beacon of hope for people who really can’t find visibility and aren’t allowed to come out from the margins.”

The 24-hour online festival hosted by Wow, of which Camilla is president, will bring contributors together from around the world, including civil rights activist Angela Davis, campaigner Gina Miller and actor Sir Patrick Stewart.

They will discuss six themes on issues that impact girls and women, which include education, justice, climate, heath, the economy and violence, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

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