***Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign by Mom Select and the Allstate Foundation, but as always, all opinions are my own.***
Victims of domestic violence are often brainwashed to think they're worthless, terrorized into submission, and told that the abuse is their fault. They "deserve" it. If only they had done something different...better...they wouldn't have to suffer the wrath of their abuser. This is enough to leave the victim feeling defeated. Alone. Voiceless. There's a lot of secrecy when it comes to abusive relationships. That's a good part of the reason why talking about domestic violence is still considered taboo.
I think it's time to talk about it. I will start. My name is Brandy. I am 33, I have 3 great children, a marriage I am beyond happy with, and a happy life in my quaint little hometown in Ohio.... and I am a survivor of domestic violence.
I will be the first to admit, the physical abuse was sporadic. It didn't happen all the time. Although looking back, I would have preferred being beaten over constantly being told how horrible, worthless, ugly, fat, and unlovable I was. That hurt worse than any physical pain I endured.
In fact, the verbal and emotional abuse did far more damage in the longrun. It destroyed my sense of self-worth, and I still struggle with very low self-esteem today. I have horrible social anxiety, am afraid of meeting new people or getting close to anyone, and I even battled an eating disorder for years, all in the name of trying to finally be "good enough".
But this post isn't about my story....If you want to read about the terror I felt during my first marriage, you can check out my story HERE.
Today, I want to talk about a wonderful initiative by the folks at The Allstate Foundation. The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Campaign addresses of one the very real effects of domestic violence: Financial abuse. Most women who are abused in their relationships also suffer financially. They may not have access to bank accounts, their credit may be destroyed by their abuser, or their name may be intentionally left off of assets like vehicles or homes. Abusers often use finances as a way to make their victim feel "trapped". Especially if there are kids involved. How can a woman completely break free of her abuser if she has no means to provide? This is a very, very real problem, folks.
In my case, I wasn't allowed to manage money at all. In fact, I was forced to hand over my paychecks, since as a woman, I "couldn't possibly be responsible and pay bills or handle budgeting." (It's funny...In my current marriage, I am responsible for all things financial, and I am quite good at it!)
Emmy nominated actress, Kerry Washington, has even designed a gorgeous purple purse for this cause. Purple is the color for Domestic Violence awareness, and the purse itself represents a woman's world. Think about it...Everything we rely on every day ends up in our purse. Car and house keys, bank and credit cards, cash, iPads, our phones...So this purple purse is the perfect way to show support for this important cause.
If you or someone you love is living with domestic violence, please visit PurplePurse.com. Here you can find resources and support, and you can also learn how YOU can make a difference for women who live in fear every day.
And please. If you are a victim....Talk to someone. Reach out. I know. It's scary. Please know that people care. You are beautiful. You are a worthwhile human being. You do NOT deserve it. And most of all, you are loved. Don't be afraid to take the first step into a brand new life. Believe me. I have been there. It's worth it. YOU are worth it!