How Kerry Washington Is Using A Purse To Foster Dialogue About Domestic Violence

October 2, 2015  |  

Domestic violence is not the easiest subject to broach, but Kerry Washington and Allstate have joined forces again to raise awareness and foster dialogue surrounding this issue.

The “Scandal” actress is the ambassador for Allstate’s Purple Purse campaign, which aims to shed light on the financial abuse that frequently holds women hostage in abusive relationships. This year, Washington and Allstate partnered with designer Dee Ocleppo to design this a limited-edition clutch, which is being exclusively sold by Saks Fifth Avenue. A portion of all proceeds will go to Allstate Foundation Purple Purse nonprofits.

As for why campaign organizers selected a purse to represent the cause, Washington says that it makes starting the conversation a bit easier—in addition to it being the perfect symbol for financial abuse.

“It’s hard to talk about a black eye, and it’s hard to talk about being strangled or being kicked out or having your credit destroyed,” she told the Huffington Post. “Those things are really hard to talk about. But if you open the conversation with a purse, if you make it something that’s fun to talk about, somehow one of those layers of isolation starts to melt. People begin to be less afraid of having the discussion and of asking for help and sharing their story and empowering others. Not to mention, a purse is where your financial well-being lives. All of the things that are of value to you live in your purse, so it’s kind of the perfect metaphor for this work.”

Like many, the wife and mom had never heard of financial abuse until just a few years ago.

“Before getting involved, I had never actually heard of financial abuse before. When they [Allstate] explained to me what it was, I thought ‘Oh, of course,’ it makes so much sense that this would be one of the weapons to controlling a partner in domestic abuse.

She adds that learning financial abuse is the leading reason women remain in abusive relationships is really what motivated her to get down with the cause.

“To learn that it’s the number one reason why women stay in abusive relationships, and even for women who are able to leave, it’s the number one reason why they come back, I just felt like the opportunity to be part of a solution and to really help give women the tools they need to save their own lives and to save their families, that just seemed like an extraordinary opportunity. And, to be able to do it through fashion was like ‘Oh, this is right up my alley! Empowering women and looking cute? I’m in.’”

To learn more about the Purple Purse campaign, domestic violence, and financial abuse, visit

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