Inside Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Having kicked off the Avon Believe World Tour in Atlanta last January, the activist spent the summer in Warsaw and Moscow and kept a diary of her trip.

September 20, 2011 2:00 PM
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Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Tuesday, June 14
Woke up in Warsaw, a place I never expected to be, and got to meet with small groups of top-selling representatives, one of my favorite parts of traveling with Avon. Then I spoke to a room of 4,000 women about domestic violence. In Poland, 12 percent of women have experienced domestic violence; 7 percent multiple times. A key part of the problem is that nobody wants to talk about it. Avon representatives can play a vital role in raising awareness by talking about the issue with other women. Andrea and I then presented a grant of $60,000 to Blue Line, an organization that launched the first nationwide hotline for victims of domestic violence in Poland and also offers services for women trying to leave violent relationships. It's a groundbreaking organization, and it was an honor to meet Anna Ulatowska, who leads project management for Blue Line.

Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Tuesday, June 14
We took off immediately for Moscow, and driving into the city was an experience I will never forget. It was 10 o'clock at night and still light out. We were visiting during the famous "White Nights," when the sun rises at 4 a.m. and doesn't set until midnight. As darkness finally fell, I went up on the roof of the hotel to look at St. Basil's Cathedral, with its golden domes and multicolored doors, and the Kremlin all lit up — just magical.

Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Wednesday, June 15
Woke up early because I couldn't wait to visit the Kremlin and Red Square. At the Kremlin, I was stopped by a group of Russian soldiers who recognized me from Legally Blonde. They were so cute and made me laugh. Then I went to Red Square and tried on giant fur hats that I decided would not work in California — but I did find some very cool Russian stacking dolls for my kids.

Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Thursday, June 16
Traffic in Moscow is notoriously challenging, so we started out early. Still, it took us two hours to drive 20 miles! We got to Crocus City Hall, one of the newest concert halls in Russia, at 7 a.m. I was excited to meet a woman named Valeriya, "the Madonna of Russia." She came to the conference to speak about her own history of domestic violence. Her story of escaping an abusive relationship and managing to regain her career and find a supportive and loving husband was incredibly inspiring. Then it was my turn to speak. In Russia, a woman is subjected to domestic violence every 40 minutes. Andrea and I presented a grant of $60,000 to ANNA, an organization focused on the prevention of violence and the development of services for women survivors of violence.

Reese Witherspoon's Travel Journal

Friday, June 17
As I was packing up to head home — halfway around the world — I was tired, but felt good about my glimpse of women's lives in Poland and Russia. Domestic violence is a complex problem with no easy solution. It will affect roughly 1 in 3 women at some point in their lives, which makes it one of the most prevalent global problems. I am hopeful that by continuing to raise funds and awareness, we can empower every woman to live a life free of violence.
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