Trigger warning for domestic violence 

Angelina Jolie spent several years advocating for the reauthorisation of the Women Against Violence Act (WAVA) that was eventually signed by President Joe Biden in March 2022.


 A couple of months before the reauthorisation, Angelina spoke during a virtual rally in support of the act and part of her remarks focused on how domestic abuse procedures disadvantage people of colour and Indigenous victims in part because bruising isn’t as obvious in those with darker skin tones. Her position was that there is technology and resources that can improve detection and assist first responders and investigators but they need to be more accessible. 

Just because WAVA has passed though it doesn’t mean the work is done for Angelina. In a new essay published in the American Journal of Nursing, she is “Addressing the Health Inequities in Survivors of Domestic Violence”. Angelina is speaking directly to nurses because: 

“Nurses are in a trusted profession of care and frontline treatment. Nurses I have spoken to have pointed out that often crucial evidence of abuse goes unrecorded. In addition to screening for and documenting abuse, nurses can and do counsel patients and protective parents of abused children about anticipated coloration changes and swelling to sites of injury, and help to obtain evidence 48 hours after the initial contact (and at additional intervals if the victim agrees).”


Towards the end of her piece Angelina shared a story about her daughter Zahara and how she experienced racial bias in the health care system, even with her privilege being the child of two celebrities: 

“Reflecting personally, when my daughter Zahara, who is from Ethiopia, was hospitalized for a medical procedure, the nurse told me to call her “if she turns pink near her incisions.” I stood looking blankly at her, not sure she understood what was wrong with what she had said. When she left the room, I had a talk with my daughter, both of us knowing that we would have to look for signs of infection based on our own knowledge, not what the nurse had said, despite her undoubted good intentions.

Even as my family has access to high-quality medical care, simple diagnoses are missed because of race and continued prioritization of white skin in medicine. At a societal level, racial disparities in health care affect outcomes for millions of people. From technology to improving diversity and representation in medical research and training, it is past time to embrace new solutions.”


In today’s open I wrote about Dr Jen Gunter’s new book, BLOOD, and how misogyny and shame have resulted in a lack of research and understanding in women’s health – because for so long, white male physiology was the standard for medical practice. We are just beginning to unravel the consequences of that gender bias and move ahead in medicine so that all patients can be treated fairly and the same desperately needs to happen where racial bias is concerned so that healthcare is equal for all. 

Click here to read Angelina’s full essay. 

Here she is with Zahara, Pax, and Shiloh yesterday in New York. As many have pointed out recently, this is as blonde as she’s been since Girl, Interrupted. I wonder what prompted the hair change.