Serena Williams Urges Women To 'Know The Signs' Of Financial Abuse

It's a sad reality that one-quarter of all women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in their life and 99% of those women will also suffer from financial abuse. Financial abuse happens when a woman's partner controls all the finances, often leaving a woman unable to leave or get help because they simply have no resources.

It's important for women to understand the signs of financial abuse so Allstate Foundation has teamed up with tennis great Serena Williams on their Purple Purse initiative in hopes of helping educate women about financial abuse. This is Williams' third year working as an ambassador for the initiative, stating that "I want to inspire and motivate others to educate themselves about domestic violence and financial abuse and to take action to end the cycle of abuse.”

In a PSA about knowing the signs of financial abuse, Williams states that having a partner who takes credit cards out in your name and then maxes them out, having a partner who controls your paycheck and bank account, a partner who makes all the spending decisions and a partner who forbids you from working are all signs of financial abuse. “Not being able to use your credit cards, having to show receipts for every little dime that you spend, having freedom of choice taken away from you. Those are all signs,” Williams told Woman’s Day. “It’s important to use my voice to shine a spotlight on the barriers women can face when they’re trying to leave.”

As the mother of a young daughter, Williams said she'll work hard to educate her daughter about domestic and financial abuse. “I hope she’ll have an awareness of the issue as she starts to go through things in her own life,” says Williams. “When you recognize the signs, you can change the pattern of abuse.”

The Purple Purse initiative aims to not only end domestic violence but help women recognize the signs of financial abuse. The program aims to educate women on financial relationships while helping to lobby for funding for shelters and bringing awareness to the issue. Williams has learned a lot through her work with Purple Purse. “It’s not easy to get up and leave. I’ve grown to understand that,” Williams explained adding that if someone you know is in an abusive relationship, “It’s important to support them until they are ready to get out of that situation.”

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence you can get help at thehotline.org or by calling 1-800-799-7233.

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