PREBLE COUNTY — Throughout the month of October, a purple backpack could be spotted in Montgomery and Preble County — always carried by a different person.
YWCA Dayton held its third annual Purple Purse Challenge which is a nationwide, online fundraising competition among agencies that serve domestic violence victims. For the month of October – Domestic Violence Awareness Month – agencies raise funds, with the top fundraisers in each division earning additional grants, up to $100,000, from the Allstate Foundation. Plus, weekly bonus challenges (such as: the agency that gets the most unique donors this week, or the agency that raises the most funds this week, etc.) allow agencies to compete for mini-grants (up to $5,000).
According to Audrey Starr, YWCA Dayton Director of Marketing and Communications, Allstate chose domestic violence as its focus, because of the connection to financial abuse.
“Allstate chose domestic violence as its philanthropic focus because one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and 99 percent of abusive relationships include financial abuse (maintaining control over financial resources, withholding access to money, or attempting to prevent them from working and/or attending school in an effort to create financial dependence as a means of control),” Starr said.
“The strongest symbol of a woman’s economic empowerment is her purse, and the color of domestic violence awareness is purple. Thus, the Purple Purse Challenge was born as a way to raise critical funds and elevate the conversation to ensure survivors know where to go or who to call for help.”
Starr shared the following statistics on domestic violence and financial abuse:
•The number one reason domestic violence survivors can’t “just leave” is because the abuser controls their money supply, leaving them with no financial resources to break free.
•64 percent of survivors report that their abuse impacted their ability to work; 40 percent reported their abuser harassed them at work via phone and in person
•Domestic violence victims lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
•Even though financial abuse occurs in nearly all abusive relationships, nearly 78 percent of Americans don’t recognize it as a form of domestic violence
•Every nine seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
•Black women experience intimate-partner violence at rates 35 higher than white women.
•Women in rural areas are nearly 10 percent more likely to experience intimate partner violence.
“We are thrilled with the support shown for our 2018 Purple Purse Challenge! We set an agency record, raising more than $46,000 – including two bonus challenges – for our domestic violence shelters and crisis hotline, landing us in sixth place in Division I. That’s a 111 percent increase from our first year in the Challenge in 2016,” Starr said.
“The Purple Purse Challenge also features a celebrity spokesperson each year; in 2018, that was tennis star Serena Williams. The spokesperson also designs a special, limited-edition Purple Purse. Each participating agency receives one to use in marketing the Challenge, which is why we created our #PassThePurseDYT marketing campaign.
“Each day of the Challenge, a different individual or group ‘carries’ our Purple Purse and posts on social media, explaining why they’re standing with YWCA against domestic violence and helping us raise funds for the Challenge. The purse’s retail value is $350 and it is not available in stores.
“We are hoping to be invited to next year’s Purple Purse Challenge for a fourth year, and have big plans for growing our Purple Purse presence in Preble County! With this year’s inaugural #PaintPreblePurple campaign, we are excited to continue that momentum all month long by featuring 60 Purple Purse carriers total – 30 in Montgomery County, and 30 in Preble County. Stay tuned for all the details later in 2019!”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler on Twitter @KKimbler_RH or at 937-683-4061