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The story behind Kerry Washington's purple purse

Kerry Washington is no stranger to stealing the show on the red carpet.

Just last week the "Scandal" star marveled in a straight off-the-runway Marc Jacobs gown for the Emmy Awards. Despite landing on countless "best dressed" lists, the fashion aficionado says her outfit choices are less about the competition, and more about feeling great about what she is wearing. Which is why she's using fashion to bring attention to an important issue.

Washington, 38, has partnered with the AllState Foundation Purple Purse campaign, and handbag designer Dee Ocleppo, to raise awareness to domestic violence and financial abuse.

"Financial abuse is the No. 1 reason why women stay in abusive relationships, and the No. 1 reason why women who are able to leave come back," Washington told CBS News. "But to be a part of this initiative means we are giving the women the tools they need to take their power back because once they are able to step away and stand on their own financially then they can be a part of the solution."

Washington unveiled her latest clutch design -- which she helped design with Ocleppo -- in New
York City last week. This year, the purple purse, which bears the color of domestic violence awareness,
retails at $350 and is available for purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue. Twenty five percent of the funds will
go toward more than 160 domestic violence programs around the country.


And an added accessory this year is that you can make a difference at any level. If you cannot purchase
the purse, the campaign is selling charms for $10, with proceeds benefiting domestic violence programs.

This is the second year the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress teamed up with the Purple Purse initiative. Washington says she's encouraged to get involved by what the program has done to get the word out about domestic violence programs, including call centers, across the country.

"The statistics for how many calls go unanswered in this country because they are understaffed and underfunded is heartbreaking. But because we are raising money and raising awareness we are saving lives and that is extraordinary," she said.

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799 SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

For more information on how you can help head to

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