Disclosure: ” This post is part of a sponsored campaign with The Allstate Foundation and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Fact: Domestic violence affects 1 in every 4 women. Still, few of us have ever talked about it. Only some of my closest friends and family know my history with this very topic. It’s not the easiest to talk about, and honestly it feels like a past life. A nightmare.
My high school relationship was not a good one. I got trapped very easily into a cycle. I was naive and impressionable at the ripe age of 17. It began with small things, like asking me not to wear certain clothing unless I was out with him. Then telling me friends were not good enough for me, and in his words “trashy”. At first it looked like he was “very caring” and “looking out for me”, but now looking back it was a clear sign of control, jealousy, and his manipulative way of secluding me.
My dad stopped by unexpectedly at the home I lived at with my mom and brother. I answered the door in a tank top. I typically wore longer sleeves at school and elsewhere. He said, “what happened to your arms?”. I lied and told him I caught it in the door. The truth was, my boyfriend abused me. He pinched the back of my arms with his nails leaving small marks on me constantly. He grabbed me, pushed me, shoved me, and later once we moved in together – kicked me, choked me, and punched me. Many times I fought back, and many times my sharp tongue got me in trouble. It only made things worse. Some days I would give up, and wish I wasn’t alive to withstand the abuse.
Why didn’t I leave him? I should have, and wanted to many times. But he always apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. Taking a phrase from Dr. Phil, “are you a slow learner?” Apparently, when it came to this, I was. I wanted desperately to believe him. He always suckered me back with gifts, surprise getaways, fancy date nights, etc. But he never changed.
I left him. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. While he was gone one day, my best friend, and really only close friend I had due to his isolation, helped me throw everything I owned into trash bags. We had to leave quickly. I left my furniture behind and other items we had purchased together.
Remember how I mentioned it’s a cycle? Yea….I took him back a few months later. He had “wooed” me into believing him once again. We found a new place, and moved in. He promised to attend counseling. He went once, maybe twice. His behavior didn’t change. I left him again after close to another full year of the abuse. In the same way as before. With the help of that true friend. This time, I didn’t answer his calls. I didn’t tell him where I moved. I even changed jobs. It took several years to do it, but I broke the cycle.
Although it’s not easy to talk about, I’m hoping my story empowers someone who’s being abused to stand up for themselves, and possibly their children and seek help. #PurplePurse provides victims and those who support the cause with information and resources they need to take the necessary actions to break the vicious cycle with confidence.” - Rosario Dawson, Purple Purse Spokesperson.
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Allstate Foundation is sending more than 1,000 purses carrying domestic violence information throughout the country. The purses will be passed between co-workers, friends, and family, sparking important conversations along the way. For every purple purse passed through the end of October, The Allstate Foundation will donate $5 for programs designed at assisting survivors of domestic violence and other women in need.
Please take a moment to help this great cause. Go to www.purplepurse.com and virtually pass on my purple purse. Enter code 01411 and your zip code then click register. That’s it! No other information is needed. The Allstate Foundation will donate $5 to YWCA on our behalf, up to $350,000.
Every hour, 145 women are affected by domestic violence and on average, three women die each day. The statistics are staggering, yet only about half of Americans say they would know how to help a victim of domestic violence.
Here are some warning signs of someone who may be being abused:
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner. i.e. Where are you, what are you doing, who are you with?
- Talk about their partner’s temper or jealousy.
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
- Have their spending tightly monitored and restricted by their partner.
What you can do:
- Offer support without judgement and criticism.
- Say something like, “I’m here to help and I’m always available.”
- or “No matter what you did, you do not deserve this.”
- Provide them with the number for Domestic Abuse hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)
Pass the purse virtually to everyone you know and help spread the word about this amazing cause!