Editor's note: A renowned chef and restaurateur, Scottish-born Gordon Ramsay is perhaps best known in the United States for his television show "Hell's Kitchen." He writes here about witnessing domestic abuse as a child and what he's doing now to make sure others don't witness the same. He will appear on "Larry King Live" tonight at 9 ET.
Chef Gordon Ramsay writes of seeing his father abuse his mother; today Ramsay fights domestic abuse.
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- No child should ever have to live in fear in their own home. A home should be a place where you feel safe and loved; when I was a kid, our home was anything but that.
Growing up, my father was less than a perfect role model. I watched how he battled alcoholism and how he became terribly violent with my mum, to the point where she feared for her life. Every time he got violent, any present that my brother, sisters, or I had given mum would be smashed, simply because he knew it belonged to her. There were instances when the police were called to take him away; mum was taken to the hospital while we kids were taken to a children's home.
As kids, my brother, sisters and I moved around to more homes and schools than I can remember. Dad would often have a fallout with someone at work and get fired, and because our home often came with his job, we would become homeless and have to move again.
To this day, I will never understand why mum stayed with him. She deserved so much better and so much more; it still pains me to remember how badly he treated her. I have four young children of my own, and I could never see myself behaving the way my father did when I was a child. I want to be a role model for my children and have them look up to me.
With that said, my wife, Tana, and I are proud to be ambassadors of Women's Aid, a national charity in England working to end domestic violence against women and children. Women's Aid helps more than 320,000 women and children every year. It also supports more than 500 domestic and sexual violence services across England.
Domestic violence is not identified solely by violent physical abuse; instead, it is defined as physical, sexual, psychological, financial, or emotional violence that takes place in a relationship, intimate or family-oriented. Eventually, this develops into a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior.
The statistics are staggering: 1 in 4 women in the UK experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and between 6-10 percent of women suffer from domestic violence in a given year. The problem is, less than half of these incidents are reported to the police. And even still, a phone call is made to the police every single minute in the UK to report a case of domestic violence. That means police receive an estimated 1,300 calls each day and more than 570,000 each year, according to Women's Aid.
I encourage everyone to help take a stand against domestic violence. My wife, Tana, and I ran the London Marathon for Women's Aid for the past two years. As ambassadors, we are pleased to say that we have received more than £5,000 in donations from friends, well-wishers and supporters of the charity. Just last week, Tana and I hosted a fundraising dinner and auction for Women's Aid in Berkeley Square in London, which helped raise more than £475,000, more than double our original target for the evening.
My father passed away in 1997 after a long battle with alcoholism. These days, my mum is still my biggest supporter -- she remains there by my side through everything, and for that, I am forever grateful. E-mail to a friend
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