Kerry Washington Sheds Much Needed Light On An Oft-Overlooked Type Of Abuse
Along with being an incredibly talented and beautiful actor, Kerry Washington has spent a lot of her career working for humanitarian causes, particularly fighting for women's rights. She's been outspoken in her beliefs and has been honored for her work in film, pushing the boundaries for both women and women of color, in particular. Further making her mark and bringing women's issues to the forefront, People reports that Washington is the ambassador for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign (for the third year in a row), which will "benefit victims and survivors of domestic and financial abuse." And the campaign sheds a light on an oft-silent form of abuse: financial abuse.
Washington spoke of her partnership with Purple Purse with People, and said,
For me, it's just such an ideal partnership, because selfishly I just participate and work in areas that are very important to me, meaning both fashion and supporting women's empowerment... To be an ambassador for the Allstate Foundation and for Purple Purse is an honor for me, because I love being able to be a part of real, long-term solutions for giving security, and wisdom, and knowledge and empowerment for domestic violence victims and survivors.
Ugh, isn't she just amazing? According to the foundation's website, the 2016 Purple Purse Domestic Violence campaign is launching the #FreetoWalk campaign, which calls "attention to the barriers that keep women trapped in abusive relationships." What is important about this campaign is that it is highlighting various forms of abuse that women endure, which are not always physical or so apparent.
The foundation's heartbreaking online film, "America's Largest Prison Break," opens up the conversation on financial abuse, which is defined by The National Network To End Domestic Violence as tactics used to "limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances," thus rendering one without resources. Unfortunately, the video was inspired by a very true story.
Washington told People of why she wanted to be involved with this particular campaign:
Financial abuse is such an invisible weapon. It's not something we think of... We can see black eyes and we can see bruising and I think, we think a lot about the emotional abuse, and all of those things are valid, but to know that financial abuse is the number one reason why women stay and why they can't walk away — it matters so much to be able to do something about that because it unlocks the solutions in the other areas as well.
For the last two years, Washington has helped the foundation design handbags that benefit the organization. She shared in a previous interview with People in 2014, "Purple is the signature color for domestic violence awareness, and a purse is where a woman's financial well-being lives. This bag represents taking back your purse strings in the face of abuse."
I am always a fan of an artist who uses their voice to stand up for what they believe in to help millions of those silenced along the way, especially in the case of domestic abuse, where the abused are often terrified of speaking up. The only way to empower those voices is to continue speaking out, making sure victims know that they have the support they need to get help and change their lives. As Washington said of their mission for this campaign, "the goal is to not have to design them anymore." Cheers to that.