Being in love means having tough conversations, and Serena Williams says that you and your man need to have a meeting of the minds about the way you think about money ASAP.
Finances can be a fickle topic for any couple, but Serena says that by addressing these topics head-on, you have less of a chance of ending up in a financially abusive situation in the long run; that's why Serena has teamed up with Allstate for the Purple Purse Project's "No Financial Abuse. No Domestic Violence.", a movement dedicated to helping women recognize the signs early. On a recent episode of the Yes, Girl! Podcast, Serena explained:
"Financial abuse affects 99% of most domestic violence cases. So that's a huge number, and when I first heard that number, I was like, 'How do I not know about it?' You would think with that statistic, most people would know about it. But we don't. I wanted to use my platform and my voice to let people know that financial abuse is not okay."
Abuse doesn't always mean physical violence and although it doesn't leave a scar that you can see, financial abuse can be just as damaging. When it comes to facing this type of assault, Serena says that there are a few signs to look out for:
"It's really important to know the signs and educate yourself. If you see them trying to handle your accounts, or trying to decide where you should spend money, or asking you for receipts, these are really big signs and red flags."
Being financially dependent can make it even more difficult for women to leave an already dangerous situation, but with the right tools, you can free yourself from an inevitably toxic situation:
"There's a lot that you have to think about when you're trying to leave an abusive relationship. It might take a little bit of time to get financially able to put that money aside so that you can actually leave and then be self-sufficient, so you don't feel like you need to go back."
Serena says that like physical abuse, financial abuse can be excused or overlooked at first, but by trusting your instincts, you'll already be ahead of the game:
"Don't ignore your instincts. If you feel like, 'Oh, this could be something, but I don't know,' don't ignore that. Listen to your voice."
For Serena, the "No Financial Abuse. No Domestic Violence." campaign was more than just a charitable cause, it was a chance for her to set an example for her daughter:
"I also have a daughter and I want her to know about [this]. You have to get really comfortable having uncomfortable conversations."
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224
Featured image by Getty Images.