Real-Life Gladiator Kerry Washington Partners to Fight Domestic Abuse for Third Year

Kerry Washington SAG-AFTRA L.A. Golf Headshot - Lead 2016
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Kerry Washington isn't as different from her on-screen alter ego, Olivia Pope, as one may think. The Scandal actress is using her gladiator skills to stand up for what she believes in very real ways. Case in point: For the third year in a row, Washington, 39, has signed on to be an ambassador for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign, which benefits victims and survivors of domestic and financial abuse.

"For me, it's just such an ideal partnership, because selfishly I just participate and work in areas that are very important to me, meaning both fashion and supporting women's empowerment," Washington told tells People. "To be an ambassador for the Allstate Foundation and for Purple Purse is an honor for me, because I love being able to be a part of real, long-term solutions for giving security, and wisdom, and knowledge and empowerment for domestic violence victims and survivors."

This year, the Purple Purse 2016 Domestic Violence campaign is launching the #FreetoWalk campaign, which brings "attention to the barriers that keep women trapped in abusive relationships."

The foundation's first effort in the #FreetoWalk campaign calls for donations to help fund "America's largest prison break," which aims to free women, quite literally, from situations of financial abuse.

"Financial abuse is such an invisible weapon," Washington says. "It's not something we think of. We can see black eyes and we can see bruising and I think, we think a lot about the emotional abuse, and all of those things are valid, but to know that financial abuse is the No. 1 reason why women stay and why they can't walk away it matters so much to be able to do something about that because it unlocks the solutions in the other areas as well."

For her 2014 and 2015 campaigns, the star designed handbags and a purse charm to raise awareness and funds for the program.

Get more information about Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse at

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