Charlize Theron has candidly recalled the “trauma” of her mother shooting her father in self-defense.
In a recent interview with Town & Country magazine, the Mad Max Fury Road actor, 48, reflected on the traumatic memory as she spoke about what led to her becoming an advocate against gender-based violence.
“I would say this: It’s a simple correlation to make,” she told the outlet. “But I think it’s way more complicated than having just one night of trauma in your life.”
She continued: “With or without that, gender-based violence is so in your face in South Africa and globally. It’s hard to not be aware of these things just purely by being a woman.”
The incident occurred in 1991, when the Academy Award winner’s father, Charles, threatened Theron and her mom. In December 2019, the actor - who was 15 at the time - recalled to NPR: “My father was so drunk that he shouldn’t have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun.”
“My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door because he was trying to push through the door,” she explained. “So both of us were leaning against the door from the inside to have him not be able to push through. He took a step back and just shot through the door three times.”
“None of the bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle,” she added, describing her father as a “very sick man” who had been an alcoholic her whole life.
“I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic,” she revealed to the outlet. “It was a pretty hopeless situation. Our family was just kind of stuck in it.”
“And the day-to-day unpredictability of living with an addict is the thing that you sit with and have kind of embedded in your body for the rest of your life, more than just this one event of what happened one night,” she said.
The shooting changed Theron’s life forever, and through her foundation, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, she co-launched the #TogetherForHer initiative in 2020 to advocate for victims and survivors of pandemic-era violence worldwide.
Theron, who is also a UN Ambassador for peace, felt that there needed to be a bigger emphasis on female-focused issues, especially in light of alarming statistics on gender-based violence during the pandemic.
“Covid is pushing domestic violence numbers to a horrific rate,” she told Forbes in 2020. “The idea, when we were being told to save our lives [from the pandemic], ended up being a death sentence for many people who were forced in homes, children and women, with abusers.”
She continued: “There are thematic issues that people understand more today; there are deeper things embedded in our society that are really problematic whether it comes to LGBTQ or to women’s rights, Black Lives Matter – all of these things — and it’s good to look at all of that – as long as we can actually come up with resources and forms of change.”