So how did Kerry Washington start the first #TGIT Thursday of fall? The star of Scandal spread the word on domestic violence awareness and financial freedom as the ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse. At a star-studded gala at The Plaza Hotel, Washington unveiled her newly designed purple purse just in time for October, Domestic Violence awareness month.
“Financial abuse is prevalent in 98% of the cases of domestic violence and the number one reason why women go back to abusers,” Washington shared. “These women don’t feel like they can take care of themselves financially. Purple purse assists women in becoming financially independent and saves their lives and their families. I love being able to be part of that solution.”
Washington designed the 2015 Purple Purse alongside Dee Ocleppo. The purse retails for $350 and is available for purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue, with 25% proceeds benefitting more than 160 domestic violence programs nationwide.
The campaign is also selling awareness charms for $10, to remind women our power often lies in our purse.
Darlene Hills-Clinkscale is one of those women helped by the mission – and a reminder that domestic violence hits every sector. The 30-year domestic violence survivor was abused over her 14-year marriage to a minister. She completed the Foundation’s Moving Ahead to Financial Empowerment curriculum and went on to complete two degrees after ending the relationship. “This foundation is so helpful and helped me restart my life,” Hills-Clinkscale says.
And yes, even Scandal fixer Olivia Pope is at risk for domestic violence. “The reality is that one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence so no one is immune,” Washington says. “We all either have experienced it or know someone who has experienced it. It’s why we all have to be part of the solution.”
While Washington worked the red carpet, sisterfriends Alicia Keys and Robin Roberts stopped by to give hugs and lend their support to the cause. And when she heard that Pope Francis was riding by the hotel, Washington ran out to catch a glimpse of the spiritual leader and fellow Pope.
With a winding career to the top, Washington is invested in other women living their dreams too. “I just hung in there,” she says of her staying power. “I also have a really good therapist, good friends and a great family.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Visit purplepurse.com for more information and resources.
If you are in danger, please use a safe computer, or call 911, your local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233(SAFE) and TTY 1-800-787-3224.