*Kerry Washington is putting the spotlight on a rarely discussed form of abuse.
The “Scandal” star has aligned with Allstate to raise awareness of financial abuse, a tactic 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 them from leaving the relationship. Career sabotage as well as putting the person in debt are other tactics used by abusers to ensure their victims have no other choice but to stay in the relationship 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.”
To further drive home the issue, Washington participated in designing limited-edition purple purses to highlight the role money plays 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, the Post reports.
“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.
To seek help for financial abuse, U.S. residents can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For a look at Washington’s financial abuse public service announcement, check out the video below: