Scandal star Kerry Washington is speaking out about a form of abuse that rarely gets talked about. As brand ambassador for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse initiative, Washington is raising awareness about financial abuse, one tactic that is occasionally used to keep an abused person in a relationship.
Financial abuse occasionally involves the abuser limiting a victim’s access to cash, which can prevent the victim from leaving the relationship. On top of that, career sabotage or putting the person in debt can become tactics in which abusers can be assured that their victims have no other recourse but to stay with them.
“I think people just aren’t as aware of financial abuse,” Washington told the Huffington Post. “If a woman isn’t even aware of the dynamics of financial abuse—what it looks like, what it is—she may not even know that that’s part of the tools being used to control her and manipulate her and keep her trapped. When there is more information around it, people can begin to identify it and then get the help they need.”
As part of Allstate’s effort to raise awareness about financial abuse, Washington took part in designing limited-edition purple purses to highlight the role of money in financially abusive relationships. Only 500 purses were produced, and most will be used as fundraisers and given to charities, with the purses going to abuse survivors.
“For me, one of the things I wanted to combine was this idea of elegance and classic traditional design, with something kind of funky and fashion-forward,” Washington stated.
If you are in need of help and reside in the U.S., call 800-799-SAFE (-7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.