Reese Witherspoon Speaks Out Against Domestic Abuse

After recent allegations that R&B star Chris Brown beat his girlfriend, the singer Rihanna, domestic violence is back in the headlines.

A passionate advocate for victims of abuse, actress Reese Witherspoon said the problem is widespread.

"I think we all know people who have been touched by domestic violence in our lives, whether it's your mother, your sister or your girlfriend. I personally know many people who have dealt with the situation, and I think it's important to stress that there are ways to talk about it," Witherspoon told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.

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Witherspoon is the global ambassador for the Avon company's Avon Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness of issues that primarily affect women, such as breast cancer and domestic violence. She announced today in Washington, D.C., that the company is adding a new Empowerment Pendant Necklace to its collection, with all proceeds to be donated to Avon's Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program.

In the United States, a woman is assaulted every nine seconds, but only one in 100 of those cases ever results in criminal charges, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

And in some countries, 70 percent of the women have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, according to a Population Report by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Witherspoon, 32, has traveled around the world connecting with women who have been abused.

"It has been extraordinary to see how different it is to come forward and speak about these issues and see how it has no cultural barriers, no socio-economic barriers, from very rich women, very poor women, it's worldwide," she said.

Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon, said that Avon's 6 million sales representatives around the world are "an army of educators" that can help women "understand where to call, what to do, how she can speak out."

Witherspoon has two children, Ava and Deacon, with ex-husband, actor Ryan Phillipe. Witherspoon, who is dating actor Jake Gyllenhall, told Cuomo, "This is certainly a happy time in my life."

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