Belfast Telegraph

Priyanka Chopra devastated by sexual violence in Zimbabwe

The star is committed to using her platform as a celebrity to shed light on the work she does as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Actress Priyanka Chopra has urged fans to take action to prevent sexual assault in Zimbabwe.

The Quantico star visited with rape survivors and other government officials in the African country as part of her role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the tour was a devastating "eye-opening experience" when she learned a prevailing attitude is that sexual assault victims are "asking for it".

“I heard a lot of this when I asked these government officials who said girls are asking for it,” she told the Associated Press.

Priyanka learned some girls were raped when they were as young as three years old, and many victims were assaulted by their fathers, uncles or other relatives.

The 34-year-old Indian actress was particularly moved by a young woman she spoke to who revealed the harrowing story of abuse she had endured over several years.

“The pastor of their church told her family that she was possessed and she should come and live with him … but the pastor raped her for two years,” Chopra recounted of the victim's horrific experience. “She was taken away from there and sent to another uncle and aunty of hers. The aunty then forced her to have sex with her husband, who was HIV positive. That was how she contracted HIV at age 17.”

Priyanka is committed to bringing the spotlight to these types of issues through her work with UNICEF in an attempt to prevent abuse and provide care for those who need it.

“I am from India and I have seen wealth and poverty live together all my life,” she said. “That is the state of the world. That is our reality. It takes people like us who are privileged, who have everything that we may need in abundance, to be able to share it in parts of the world where they may not have that.”

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