Christina Aguilera fans know her as a fierce fighter but she’s also a survivor of domestic violence. During an awards ceremony she got emotional after she was honored with the Community Hero award by a women’s domestic violence shelter.
“It’s just disgusting and it happens far too much to people, and it is very dear to my heart, because I did grow up in [violence] and am a survivor of it, as I’m sure many of you are,” she tearfully said, in a video posted on her Instagram account. “I’m affected by it.”
She awarded the Community Hero award by The Shade Tree, a domestic violence shelter in Las Vegas that’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week for homeless and abused women and children. Aguilera donates $1 from each ticket sold from her Las Vegas residency show “The Xperience” at Planet Hollywood to the organization, which runs through March 6, 2020.
“I remember often having to up and escape in the middle of the night with my mom & little sister, having just the clothes on our backs, to drive cross country for shelter at my grandma’s house,” she wrote in her Instagram post. “Without that, I would have had to turn to a place like @shadetreevegas for shelter.”
The 38-year-old singer has opened up in the past about the abuse she, her sister, and her mom endured at the hands of her father and has been a vocal advocate for domestic violence survivors.
In the past, she has also partnered with Verizon’s HopeLine program to connect survivors of domestic violence to resources. In a 2018 interview with Paper magazine, she talked about the violence her mom experienced and why victim-blaming is wrong.
“I watched my mom have to be submissive, watch her Ps and Qs or she’s gonna get beat up,” Aguilera said. “I hate when people say, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ There’s psychological damage and mental abuse that comes with being in a situation like that.”
Her mother, Shelly, once shared how she found Aguilera with a bloody face at 4 years old because she was too noisy when her dad was trying to sleep. Her mom eventually left him and they moved to live with her grandmother; Aguilera tried reconnecting with her father as an adult but eventually decided that she didn’t want or need him in her life.
She’s shared numerous times how music was an outlet for her to channel her emotions, evident in her iconic 2002 album, Stripped, which included the track “I’m OK” with the lyrics, “bruises fade father, but the pain remains the same.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in the U.S. are affected by domestic violence and nearly every minute, 20 people are physically abused by a partner in the U.S. That’s more than 10 million men and women a year.
“I have so much respect and adoration for those who give their time and support to hear these victims’ stories and help them regain strength, self-empowerment and provide resources for a better independent future,” Aguilera said. “Some aren’t so fortunate to get out….which is why it’s so important to work together to put a stop to these horrific statistics. Moreover, this isn’t just an issue in the US, but happens all over the world, in too many homes.”