With one in four women affected by domestic violence in her lifetime, the Allstate Foundation launched "Purple Purse," a new campaign in conjunction with YWCA to raise awareness of the problem and to get people talking about it in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
While most people think of abuse as being physical, verbal or sexual, Allstate is using the campaign to emphasize financial abuse, working to empower women to establish their own financial independence.
"We focused on the purple purse because the purse becomes the symbol of a woman's financial independence -- it's her portable identity," says Patricia Garza, director of the Allstate Foundation, an independent charitable organization supported by Allstate Corp."We've been working on the financial aspect of the issue for a while now -- we bring the same financial expertise to this that we bring to our clients."
The foundation has been active in this area since the mid-2000s, contributing more than $20 million in grants and programming to support economic empowerment for survivors and to help end domestic violence. Its website, ClicktoEmpower.com, has been providing information on financial abuse, but the foundation wanted to increase its impact in this area.
As part of the Purple Purse effort, which was created by Fleishman-Hillard, Allstate is also offering a widget to make it easier for people to share information with friends and help those who need it by carrying the material on their mobile devices.
Allstate and YWCA also held TweetUps in nine cities to talk about Purple Purse and get women to talk about the campaign and to hear the stories of domestic violence survivors.
"For too long, domestic violence has been a hush-hush issue. There's a lot of shame and guilt for the victim that they take on themselves," Garza says. "Through the campaign we're trying to get people to talk about the issue.
"This is a unique way to get information out," she says, adding that the response has been very good. "It's very much a stealth campaign. It's a nontraditional and safe way for women to share information with other women on this important issue."