Do you know the signs of financial abuse, the controlling behaviors present in 99 percent of all cases of domestic violence?

As ambassador for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse program, Serena Williams is speaking about another side of domestic abuse: Financial abuse.

“It’s a weapon that keeps people trapped in abusive relationships,” Williams told USA TODAY.  “One in four women will experience domestic violence, and this is to help woman and communities throughout  America find a way (out of) abuse through financial education and empowerment. That’s my big message.’’

Williams is starring in a PSA for the Purple Purse program called “Signs.” In the video, she notes some examples of financial abuse – such as your partner taking your paycheck and spending it however they choose.

“We think this is still an issue that needs a lot of education and a lot of awareness,” says Ellen Lisak, Purple Purse’s senior program officer.

“I think a lot of us, whether we admit it or not, know people in our lives who’ve been through domestic abuse,” says Williams. “I have a friend, a really, really close friend of mine who’d been involved in a really unfortunate situation… it’s difficult for them, but it’s also difficult for the people around you who love you and care about you.’’

Williams says one primary lesson she wants to teach her daughter is to “always have the confidence to stay financially independent.’’

“It’s okay to be stable on your own, and (say) ‘we can do a lot of things together as well,’ ’’ she added.

For those facing abuse, “they can always call the National Domestic Violence hotline for immediate help,” Lisak says. And “if you think someone you know is being abused…approach them without judgment or criticism. Let them know that you’re there for them.”

Celebrity Domestic Violence Victims
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