Oscar-winning Hollywood superstar Nicole Kidman was at the UN headquarters on Tuesday to spearheaded a drive to raise awareness of violence against women.
"One in three women will encounter violence in some way, shape or form against them in their lifetime," said Kidman, the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Kidman, who is visibly pregnant -- seven months so, she said -- held a press conference to kick off the UN-sponsored "Say No to Violence against Women" campaign.
"So much of it is shrouded in silence. What we are trying to do is say this is something that needs to be addressed," said the 40-year-old Australian actress.
"A lot of it is taking away the stigma, creating awareness and not making it a silent pandemic," she added.
"I want to encourage people of all nations to unite behind our call to end violence against women," she said, urging people to sign on to the UNIFEM campaign at www.saynotoviolence.org.
Organizers said 210,000 people had already signed on to the online petition campaign and expressed hope that many more would follow suit.
Kidman also appealed for increased financing for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which gives grants for innovative efforts in developing countries to help combat the scourge.
UNIFEM provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality.