If you start seeing a lot of purple purses on social media this month, it's not because of a new fashion trend. On Wednesday, the YWCA West Central Michigan launched their Purple Purse Campaign to help fund and bring awareness to their financial empowerment programs for victims of domestic violence.

Throughout the month of September, you'll be seeing some familiar faces posed next to purple purses helping to promote this campaign - the new Chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department, Mayor George Heartwell, WZZM-13's Jennifer Pascua, Jordan Carson from WOTV4 Women, the presidents of both Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College, most of the city commissioners here in Grand Rapids, and me.

The YWCA West Central Michigan is our region's most comprehensive response to domestic violence and sexual assault. They offer prevention programs for girls 6-18 years old, as well as services for victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and stalking.

Three in ten women experience domestic or dating abuse at some point in their lives. I am one of those women.

The Purple Purse Campaign bring awareness to an aspect of domestic violence that most people never think of - financial abuse. Abusers often trap their victims in relationships by removing their access to bank accounts, ruining their credit, or controlling their spending. An abuser's behavior can result in the victim losing her job. His control over her ability to spend money on even the smallest things makes leaving the relationship nearly impossible.

Because financial independence is the number one predictor of a woman's ability to leave an abusive relationship, the YWCA offers financial empowerment programs to victims to help them become survivors. Their advocates work with a victim to establish a budget on her new income, open bank accounts in her own name, and identify ways she can not only stay safe, but remain financially independent.

Three in ten women experience domestic or dating abuse at some point in their lives. I am one of those women. For four years I remained in a verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive relationship, because I didn't think that their was any way out. At the time, I wasn't aware of the YWCA and the many services that they provide for victims of domestic abuse. Ten years after leaving that relationship, I am committed to helping other women in similar situations find their way out.

If you'd like to donate to the Purple Purse Campaign, you can do so here

If you or someone you care about could use help, please call the YWCA West Central Michigan at one of the below numbers:

Confidential Sexual Assault Hotline: 616-776-7273
Confidential Domestic Violence Hotline: 616-451-2744