The #WhyIStayed Social Activist Creates Escape Aid-‘Bolt Bag’ for Domestic Abuse Survivors

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You may not recognize the name. It’s Bev Gooden, btw. But you damn sure remember her setting Twitter ablaze when her hashtag #WhyIStayed went viral in 2014, which nabbed TIME’s Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation.

The Cleveland native is doing more than talking about her experience as a domestic violence survivor. She launched nonprofit org–The Ella Mae Foundation–to advocate for victims of domestic abuse (in honor of late grandmother, who the foundation is named after.)

Starting with ‘The Bolt Bag’ project. It’s exactly what you think it is. A bag full of essentials when you need to…you guessed it…BOLT from someone dangerous.

The Bolt Bag contains toiletries, first aid kits, brush, comb and even more essentials.

IMG_20170426_192401Good hearted folk, like us Blinkers, can donate needed items for the Bolt Bags by reaching out to Bev.

“The time when you leave domestic violence is so, so dangerous, Gooden told NowWhat Her. “And I just wanted to do something tangible, to remove that obstacle.”

“My marriage was abusive and I got out of that marriage.” She adds.

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Being in those shoes, Gooden designed Bolt Bag to emphasize anonymity and safety.

“You don’t have to give me your name, or address, or social or phone number. That was the whole idea of the project is anonymity.” the Hampton University grad explains.

NowWhat Her reports hundreds of Bolt Bags have gone out around the world to help all those in need of an escape from a toxic relationship.

To learn more about the Bolt Bag Project click here.

Bev is our #WCW for not only surviving an impossible situation, but giving others the tools to do the same.

Kerry Washington Uses Fashion to Spotlight Domestic Abuse

kwpurpleNew York Fashion Week may be kaput, but “Scandal” star Kerry Washington introduced the hottest accessory for a woman’s safety. The purple purse.  The tasseled, chain-strapped purse was  designed by Olivia Pope  Kerry herself, and Vanna White debuted yesterday at Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge. Fashion aside, this purse carries a strong message for any woman or girl suffering financial abuse, a little known form of domestic abuse where a partner uses money to control a spouse’s freedom.

In light of the tsunami-sized public uproar over NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peters alleged physical abuse cases, now is as good a time as any to jumpstart a convo about a form of abuse that is very rarely talked about. To bring you up to speed, financial domestic abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships and is cited as the top reason for why victims stay in unhealthy  relationships, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

It starts by slowly pulling away a woman’s purse strings, until she’s financially trapped.

“When the victim finally realizes she wants to take back some control, she often can’t. That whole hashtag #WhyIStayed that happened last week, you saw how many of those responses were about feeling trapped financially,” Washington, the purple purse ambassador told The Huffington Post.

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The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge aims to take back the power stolen from these women by using the handbag (adorned the color of domestic abuse awareness) to be a topic of conversation. As well as a source of funds for charities advocating for domestic abuse victims.

So, here’s how it works, when you donate $10 or more, you will enter a daily drawing to win one of three purple purses Ms. Washington designed. There will be three winners every day. You can enter here and for those that prefer email: purplepurse@crowdrise.com with the subject line “Please enter me in the sweepstakes-Win a Purple Purse.” In the email include all your contact info. You have until October 3rd to enter.

So far the purple purse challenge has taken in over $500k in donations. I guess survivors of domestic abuse are in good hands….sorry, couldn’t help myself. To learn about other charitable pursuits the Allstate Foundation contributes to click here.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse and need help, know that you are not alone. Go to a safe place and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE for help, because no one deserves to be abused.