Sir Patrick Stewart has seen enough of the abuse. The 72-year-old actor stood at the center of the Diplomat Ballroom at the UN Hotel Friday and pounded his fist on the podium, counting to nine.

"Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States," Stewart said.

The British-born actor, best known for his roles in "Star Trek: The Next Generation and "X-Men," was the host for the launch of "Ring the Bell," a campaign calling for one million men to make "concrete, actionable promises" to end the violence against women.

"Violence against women is the single greatest human rights violation of our generation," Stewart said.

"This is a call to action-not an act that will make things better in six months or a year's time," he continued. "This is action that might save a life today, or tonight, or tomorrow."

The event coincided with International Women's Day and the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations headquarters and was attended by around 200 combined actors, activists, politicians, filmmakers and musicians, including Michael Bolton.

The singer, who is a father of three daughters, spoke about his work lobbying for the extension of the Violence Against Women Act passed by Congress earlier this week.

"We will continue to battle," Bolton said.

Stewart later gained a standing ovation for his own past with domestic abuse with women.

"I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my father's fist and my mother's body," Stewart said.

He said his father "was unable to control his emotions-and his hands."

"My mother did not do anything to provoke my father," Stewart said. "But even if she did, violence is not the answer."

In a videotaped promise to act, Sir Richard Branson spoke on a humanitarian visit he made to Africa:

"Yesterday I was at a clinic we run in Africa called Bhubezi Clinic and there were 40 women in the room. Somebody asked the women if any of them had been raped, and there was laughter amongst the women. We asked why they were laughing. The women said, 'Ask the question: Has anybody in this room not been raped?' Not one woman put up her hand."