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Serena Williams Speaks Out About Recent Olympia’s Domestic Violence

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Serena Williams twins with daughter Olympia

At the U.S. Open last month, Serena Williams demanded an apology for what she called a “sexist remark” from a judge. The strong stance, she later said in a press conference, was a fight for “women’s rights and women’s equality.”

 

 

Just three weeks after speaking out on sexism in sports, the tennis legend is addressing another important issue: domestic violence. “I will continue to talk about uncomfortable topics,” she tells ELLE.com. “In order to make change.”

Williams, 37, has teamed up with Purple Purse, Allstate Foundation’s program dedicated to helping survivors, this October for domestic violence awareness month. She designed a handbag for the organization’s annual fundraiser campaign in which 300 nonprofits supporting the cause will compete to receive grants from Allstate to provide tools and resources to help survivors establish safety and financial security.

Serena Williams and daughter Olympia makeup

Williams says she’s always cared about issues like women’s equality and domestic violence, but has grown “so, so so attached” to her causes, like Purple Purse, over the past year in large part because of her now 13-month-old baby girl, Olympia. “Having a daughter changes your outlook on so many things in the world,” she says. “The last year has really changed my already passionate mindset.”

Last week, Williams says she watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s televised testimony accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. As she works with Purple Purse to spreads awareness about the millions of violence and assault victims in this country, like Ford, she can’t help but think about Olympia, whom she and husband Alexis Ohanian welcomed into the world last September.

Williams says it pains her “knowing [Olympia] could be in a situation like that.”

“And, by the way, there’s a lot of other women out there that could be my daughter or my sister that are in an [abusive] situation,” she adds. “You never know… Sometimes you meet a person and they’re amazing and a week later or a month later or a couple years later they turn out to be something different, and it’s not [your] fault.”

Serena Williams Gives Beauty Tutorial To Daughter Olympia

Williams is especially keen on talking about financial abuse, a type of domestic abuse that happens when an abuser takes control of finances to prevent the other person from leaving. “[Victims] can’t leave their situation[s], because they cannot financially afford to,” Williams explains. “We want to make them aware that’s not okay… and provide victims a safe way out of violence through financial tools and resources.”

Serena Williams workout lifestyle

Her work with Purple Purse has helped raise millions of dollars for local domestic nonprofits and brought light to an “issue the public considers taboo,” Vicky Dinges, senior vice president of corporate relations at Allstate Foundation, tells ELLE.com. The organization claims to have invested more than $60 million to assist domestic violence victims with financial education, job training, and job readiness, according to a press release provided to ELLE.com.

“The message,” Williams adds,” is not just for women. It’s for men, as well. We need each other and need to help each other out. [Together] we can make change.”







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