Serena Williams Stands Up Against Domestic Violence, Financial Abuse

The role financial abuse plays in keeping women trapped in abusive relationships is often overlooked.

A recent report, “The Status of Black Women in the United States,” found that although Black women have high labor participation and voting rates, at all educational levels, Black women are concentrated in lower paying jobs.

Relatedly, close to half(41.2 percent) of Black women experience physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. The report also states that more than half of multiracial women and Native American women have experienced domestic violence as well.

These rates are higher than for white women (30.5 percent), Latinas (29.7 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islander women (15.3 percent).

“Domestic or intimate partner violence is a cycle of violence in which one individual seeks to dominate and control another through psychological, sexual, economic, and/or physical abuse,” the report states.

Tennis superstar Serena Williams is on a mission to end not only domestic or intimate partner violence against women but also economic abuse.

“Standing up for women’s rights has long been a passion of mine,” Williams said.”I am honored to join Allstate Foundation Purple Purse to bring financial abuse and domestic violence out of the shadows and into the public conversation.”

In her role as the new ambassador for Purple Purse, Williams, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, intends to raise awareness of the often invisible role economic abuse plays in keeping women in abusive relationships.

The 35-year-old is currently ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association and has used her high profile status to address sexism in sports, as well as speak out against racism she had endured both on and off the tennis court.

She is engaged to Alexis Ohanian, the 33-year-old co-founder of Reddit. The two are expecting their first child. In April, she publicly responded to former French and U.S. Open champion Ilie Nastase’s racist remarks about the couple’s unborn baby.

As the ambassador of Allstate Foundation Purple Purse (Allstate is No. 33 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list), she is now an advocate for women who are being abused and are trapped because of their finances.

Purple Purse began in 2005 to provide financial empowerment to domestic abuse victims. The foundation states that it has helped more than 1 million women leave abusive relationships through economic education and job training.

According to the survey “Silent Weapon: Domestic Violence and Financial Abuse,” approximately 8 in 10 Americans (78 percent) said they have not heard much about financial abuse as it relates to domestic violence.

And, those surveyed think that financial abuse is the least likely (3 percent) form of abuse to be recognized by an outsider.

The short film “Lost Purse” provides a glimpse into the life of a domestic violence victim through her lost purse.

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