Today, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse launched #FreetoWalk, an awareness and fundraising campaign to call attention to the barriers that keep women trapped in abusive relationships.
The campaign kicks off with the release of the online film “America’s Largest Prison Break,” the true story of a financial abuse survivor’s 700-day journey to freedom.
“America’s Largest Prison Break” brings to life the true story of how Lori, a mother from Michigan, broke free from her abusive relationship. For two years, Lori secretly saved money to fund her escape from her abusive husband. With every visit to the grocery store, she would add small – $5 or $10 – amounts of cash to the checks she wrote to the clerk. Once home, when no one was watching, she would roll the single bills inside tampon applicators and hide them in a box in her bathroom until she had collected enough money to leave safely with her children and file for divorce.
“I’m honored Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is using my story to help others understand the impact of financial abuse,” said Lori, domestic violence survivor and activist. “Making financial abuse part of the national domestic violence conversation and educating people on the power of financial empowerment will help break the cycle of domestic violence.”
One in four American women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And in 99 percent of domestic violence cases, victims will also experience financial abuse, which means their abusers deny them access to money, ruin their credit by stealing their identity or harass them at work so they lose their jobs. Financial abuse is the No. 1 reason victims stay in or return to abusive relationships. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse aims to create long-term safety and security for domestic violence survivors through financial empowerment.
Continuing to serve as a voice for victims and to advance Allstate Foundation Purple Purse’s efforts, Emmy-nominated actress and activist Kerry Washington returns for her third year as Allstate Foundation Purple Purse ambassador.
“I am proud to serve as ambassador once again for the Purple Purse program,” Washington said. “Through this year’s #FreeToWalk campaign, we are putting the spotlight on financial abuse and engaging the public to lend their support. I hope others will join me in championing this cause so Purple Purse can continue to help more women gain financial independence and find safety.”
“Financial abuse is an invisible weapon that’s just as effective as a lock and key in controlling victims,” said Vicky Dinges, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility, Allstate Insurance Company. “Without financial resources, victims remain trapped in homes that feel more like prisons. Our #FreeToWalk campaign brings financial abuse out of the shadows and helps victims gain access to resources they need to break free and to rebuild their lives.”
On an average day in 2015, more than 12,000 requests for services such as emergency shelter and financial assistance for victims went unanswered due to a lack of funding at domestic violence programs. Visit PurplePurse.com today to help more women become #FreeToWalk.
In addition to the film, the Allstate Foundation’s 2016 Purple Purse campaign will include various #FreeToWalk activities that will provide opportunities for the public to help women break free from domestic violence. Money raised ensures that domestic violence organizations across the country are able to provide services.
Now in its 12th year of supporting this issue, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse has propelled more than 800,000 domestic violence survivors on the road to safety through its tools, including the Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum that equips women with resources to regain their financial independence. To date, the Allstate Foundation has invested more than $50 million in life-changing financial education, asset-building, job training and readiness programs for survivors.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.