Why Serena Williams' Speaks Out About Domestic Violence for Her Daughter's Sake

Oct 3, 2018 at 1:45 p.m. ET
Serena Williams of the United States during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final
Image: Tim Clayton/Corbis Via Getty Images.

Serena Williams is taking an important stand for victims of domestic violence once again. She has been involved with the Purple Purse project, an Allstate program dedicated to raising awareness for and helping victims of domestic violence since 2017. This is not the first time she has spoken about her work for Purple Purse, either. In fact, she opened up about her involvement with the campaign with SheKnows at the #BlogHer17 conference last year. But now, as she goes into her second year with the project, she has another important reason to speak up about domestic violence: her 13-month-old baby girl, Olympia. 

More: 10 Domestic Violence Facts We Should All Be Taking Very Seriously

In a recent interview with Elle, Williams commented, "[H]aving a daughter changes your outlook on so many things in the world. The last year has really changed my already passionate mindset," especially when she considers that Olympia could someday "be in a situation like that."

She went on to say that she "will continue to talk about uncomfortable topics" like domestic violence "in order to make a change."

Domestic violence is a very real — and very prevalent — problem. In fact, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 3 out of every 10 women and 1 out of every 10 men will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner during their lifetime.  

That said, it is important to note that domestic violence isn't always violent; in fact, there are many types of abuse — one can be abused verbally, mentally, emotionally, physically and/or sexually. They can also be abused culturally. However, the type of abuse nearest to Williams' heart is an invisible form of abuse known as financial abuse, which is when "abusers limit or prevent access to financial resources, like bank accounts and job opportunities," according to Purple Purse.

In fact, financial abuse is the subject of Williams' new ad, which Allstate produced in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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"[Victims] can’t leave their situation[s], because they cannot financially afford to," Williams told Elle. "We want to make them aware that's not okay... and provide victims a safe way out of violence through financial tools and resources."

More: Yes, Reproductive Coercion Is Domestic Violence

That said, abuse can happen to anyone. Anyone. "There’s a lot of other women out there that could be my daughter or my sister that are in an [abusive] situation," Williams said. "You never know." But Williams wants all survivors to know there is help, there is hope and — perhaps most important — "it's not [their] fault."

If you or someone you know is in a dangerous, violent and/or controlling situation, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 911.

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