Star of 'The Help' helping domestic violence victims - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Star of 'The Help' helping domestic violence victims

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - After more than 20 years of acting, Viola Davis was an overnight success. Her award-winning role in "The Help" propelled her to a life of fame. She was in town Thursday and shared her life story, one of reaching the stars and keeping her feet firmly on the ground.

"I get recognized in grocery stores, restrooms. That's a hard one, by the way. Restrooms?" she said.

Despite being a red carpet regular these days, she keeps grounded by giving back. She was the keynote speaker at Thursday's In the Company of Women Luncheon, a fundraiser for the San Diego County YWCA that serves victims of domestic violence.

Her father abused her mother when she was young. That experience drives her to let victims know there are ways out.

"There is hope. I mean, the YWCA is hope. Look at all the women that were here today. There's so many people out there that live a life of service who are able to throw these people a rope.

I've had people come into my life that have helped me every step in my journey. People have thrown me a rope. I call them angels, that's what I call them, heaven sent," Davis said.

The violence in her home was painful, but Davis says that pain helps her reach places others can't in her acting.

"I feel like I can access it because I've experienced it. I know the road, I know the road to living a life of pain," she said.

But the pain is in her past. Now she's enjoying her family, her career and the chance to use her fame to help others find peace.

"I think when you give a life of service, I think that's what it means to live a life of purpose. If you want your life to mean something, then mean something to someone else," Davis said.

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