The Duchess of Cornwall is on a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence. While hosting a reception for the UK domestic abuse charity, SafeLives, on Wednesday, February 12, Prince Charles’ wife revealed that she has friends who have suffered from domestic violence and coercive control. “No one knows what goes on behind any front door,” Camilla told the The Daily Mail. “It affects everybody. 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.”
The Duchess held the reception at Clarence House to mark the 15th anniversary of SafeLives. The royal’s interest in domestic abuse first sparked following her initial visit to the organization back in 2016, where she listened to “harrowing stories” from victims that had her in tears. One story in particular continues to give her “nightmares” to this day.
“I didn’t really know the extent of domestic abuse and I think until I got to that meeting ,” Camilla recalled. “And then one after the other these ladies got up to tell their stories and they were so brave – it was one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve ever, ever had. And I thought to myself, this is going on, what are we doing about it? You know people, I know people that it has happened to. But I don’t think we ever believed it was that bad.”
Camilla also revealed that the daughter of someone she knows “well” was a victim of coercive control. She added, “I have known people I suspected it was happening to but they wouldn’t 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.”
The Duchess commended survivors, both men and women, for their bravery to leave their homes and partners in order to escape abuse, noting that they give others hope. Camilla told the Mail that she plans to highlight domestic abuse for the rest of her life. She said, “You know it had hadn’t been for SafeLives on that day I would never be doing what I am doing now. It changes you. And for that I will forever be grateful.”