Serena Williams On Domestic Violence: “This Is A Human Rights Issue”

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Since the birth of Serena Williams’ first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., the tennis champion has embraced a new outlook on life and a newfound responsibility to make the world a safer place for her kin, beginning with the end of domestic violence. During Wednesday’s Allstate Foundation Purple Purse event (June 20), Williams revisited her fight to provide resources and solutions, and wants to stress educating young boys and men on this matter.

“I think expanding the conversation to men and expanding the conversation to young boys, it’s so important,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “This is a human rights issue. We should all be treated the same We should be treated equal. With domestic abuse, it doesn’t care what color you are, what background you’re from.”

Williams’ crusade against domestic violence is tied with her initiative to end financial abuse. When the 36-year-old athlete became the Purple Purse program’s ambassador in 2017, she shared that she was unaware of the link between these two forms of maltreatment, which affects upwards of 94 percent of domestic abuse survivors, CNN reports. Economic abuse can come in the form of someone preventing their partner from going to work, controlling the amount of money given to someone, or intentionally ruining someone’s credit so that they can’t apply for other services like a new apartment, car, etc.

“I was really surprised at how prevalent it was and underexposed the issue of financial abuse was,” Williams previously said. “Because of that, I kind of wanted to encourage others to stand up and speak up and speak out about financial abuse.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), a “typical day” consists of 20,000 phone calls taken at hotlines across the United States. The NCADV also reports one in five children have witnessed domestic violence each year. Additionally, one in four women and one in seven men have suffered domestic violence during their lifetime.