Duchess of Cornwall says 'silence is corrosive' as she encourages domestic abuse victims to speak out

·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

The Duchess of Cornwall will call silence “corrosive” as she encourages victims of domestic abuse to speak out about and help break the taboo survivors face.

Camilla, 72, has worked for several years with domestic abuse survivors and charities, and is speaking on Saturday at the Women of the World (Wow) festival, which is being held online.

She will speak about how she was inspired to bring people together to tackle the problem upon hearing survivors’ stories.

The duchess will also say she fears the numbers of abuse victims coming to light after the coronavirus lockdown will be “horrific”.

In a pre-recorded message, she will say: “It’s not a nice subject to talk about and I think that’s been one of its problems.

“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.”

Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (C), President of WOW - Women of the World, poses for a photograph with guests as she hosts a reception for the organisation at Clarence House on March 7, 2019 in London. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STUART C. WILSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Camilla hosting a Wow reception at Clarence House in 2019. (Getty Images)

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She will also say there is help available, and encourage people to seek it when they need it, saying it is a problem which can affect anyone from any strata of life.

The duchess references the Wow festival at the South Bank in London earlier this year, in which she said domestic abuse is “everyone’s problem”.

The discussion, to be broadcast online at 6pm on Saturday, will also mark her officially taking on the patronage of SafeLives, a domestic abuse charity which she has worked closely with in the last four years.

(L-R) Mary Portas, Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's equality party, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Kathy Lette and Jude Kelly pose during a reception at Clarence House in London to celebrate the Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World festival on March 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Yui Mok        (Photo credit should read YUI MOK/AFP via Getty Images)
(L-R) Mary Portas, Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's equality party, Duchess of Cornwall, Kathy Lette and Jude Kelly at the 2018 Wow reception. (Getty Images)

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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 Wow online festival, of which Camilla is president, will be held over a 24 hour period and features speakers civil rights activist Angela Davis, campaigner Gina Miller and actor Sir Patrick Stewart.

They will discuss issues including education, justice, climate, heath, the economy and violence, as well as the coronavirus pandemic in particular relation to women and girls.

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