All Abuse Isn’t Visible: Serena Williams Fights Financial Abuse With the Purple Purse Project

Most of us think we know what domestic abuse looks like, but in 99 percent of intimate partner violence cases, the most disabling aspect is often financial, exacting a level of control over victims that prevents them from escaping.

As an ambassador for Allstate’s Purple Purse Project, tennis phenom and entrepreneur Serena Williams has made it her mission to help combat this often-overlooked form of abuse, most recently with a PSA titled “Invisible Weapon,” released on Wednesday.


Dispelling the notion that all signs of abuse are clear, in the one minute spot, Williams asks us to consider the hard-to-spot yet devastating impact financial abuse can have upon its victims—and aims to empower those victimized with the knowledge and resources to liberate themselves. And for a second consecutive year, Williams has designed a purple suede and leather backpack to help raise funds for the cause.

“A purse is symbolic of a woman’s financial domain,” said Vicky Dinges, Allstate’s senior vice president of corporate relations. “We’re thrilled Serena Williams took that to heart when designing the purse for the 2018 Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, and we’re confident it will encourage an even greater number of people to get involved and support the participating nonprofits.”

Illustration for article titled All Abuse Isn’t Visible: Serena Williams Fights Financial Abuse With the Purple Purse Project
Photo: Allstate Foundation

The release of the PSA and limited-edition bag coincides with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the 5th annual Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, which takes place through Oct. 31, helping 300 domestic violence nonprofits nationwide raise funds that will provide much-needed resources and services to domestic violence survivors.


Since 2014, the Purple Purse project has raised more than $10 million for domestic abuse organizations across the country, and has invested $60 million since 2005. A select number of donors will also be eligible to win the Williams-designed purple purse via a weekly sweepstakes; each $10 donation equals one entry.

“I’m proud to speak up for women who can’t use their voices, and let them know we’re working to end the cycle of abuse,” said Williams. “I hope that after viewing the video, people will be more aware of the hidden signs of financial abuse and they’ll understand the need to help those who’ve been burdened by it.”


The Glow Up tip: If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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