Though financial abuse doesn’t leave a scar, it’s often what keeps women in abusive relationships. That’s why actress Kerry Washington partnered with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse to bring awareness to the issue, direct women in need toward resources and raise money for over 160 foundations by designing a purse with designer Dee Ocleppo.
“Financial abuse is the hidden weapon. We don’t necessarily see it the way you would see a black eye. But it is the number one reason women stay in abusive relationships. And even when they leave, it’s the number one reason why they go back,” Washington told TIME. “It’s very real in the lives of these women, whether it’s destroyed credit or losing a job or not being able to get to a job by losing transportation or access to cash.”
Washington unveiled the clutch, which is designed to give women back control of their own pursestrings, in New York City on Thursday night. The purple purse bears the color of domestic violence awareness and will be sold at Saks. A quarter of the proceeds will go toward organizations fighting domestic abuse.
The Scandal star joined the Purple Purse cause last year, and she and Allstate raised $2.5 million with sales of a purse she designed. Allstate is looking to double that number this year. “What I’m so passionate about with this initiative is that it’s really about women taking their power back and saying this is a cultural phenomenon that one in four women will be abused in her lifetime, but there is something I can do about it,” Washington says.
This year’s purse adds an extra accessory: a charm that comes with the bag or can be purchased separately. “You can turn any bag into a purple purse,” she says. “Guys can do it, girls can do it. You can put it on your keychain. You can put it on your door. You can put it wherever you want.”
The Purple Purse website provides a financial empowerment curriculum, which outlines for victims of abuse how they can escape their circumstances.
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