Domestic violence is a very real issue for many in this country. While it does affect both sexes, there is a bigger chance you will experience it if you are a woman.
Your odds of exposure will be greater depending on your sexual identity or orientation, household income, and race, according to the CDC:
But let’s face it: when you’ve experienced that fear in your own home, the numbers don’t matter. What matters is that very visceral experience. It’s personal. It’s terrifying. And all too often, it feels like you can never get out.
A major reason women feel like they can’t escape is that they don’t know how they will manage their finances on their own. Maybe you’re in a one-income household where your partner brings in the money. Maybe your partner simply controls the money, or you don’t make enough on your own wages to support your children and start anew.
There are many reasons for not leaving. To say money is the only one would be naive. But since this blog primarily concerns itself with finances, we’re going to explore ways to solve the money problem today for partners who want to escape their abusive relationships. These are resources, but I’d highly encourage you to reach out to a counselor before finalizing any big plans. As mentioned, these situations are nuanced and dangerous.
If money is the thing holding you back, here are some solutions to that part of the puzzle:
Leaving an Abusive Relationship When You Have No Money
Sure, you could hustle. Sure, you could try to find a job and daycare if you have kids.
But immediately following your departure, you need to be focusing on keeping yourself (and your children if you have any) safe. There’s a lot that goes into that, and it interferes with pulling in extra cash.
Shelters and non-profits across the country recognize that. In fact, they have funds set aside to help you out through the transition. Check out the below resources for funding opportunities.
And remember, it’s not shameful to get help. You’re leaving a bad situation for a better tomorrow. It’s scary. The obstacles are real. Others recognize this. It’s why the money exists. Use it.
- United Way. Call 2-1-1. This will connect you to your local chapter of United Way. Often, they have special services for those who are going through domestic violence, and in some areas, they even have special funds specifically to help victims get out. Even if neither of these things exist in your area, the United Way provides a lot of financial, healthcare and educational assistance to communities–there is likely to be some overlap between their services and your needs.
- Soroptomist. If you haven’t worked prior to leaving your relationship, you may be sorely in need of education or job skill training. The problem? Those things are expensive. Soroptomist issues financial awards at a local, regional and international level to help ease that burden. Also be sure to check into basic grants that you will likely qualify for, potentially allowing you to make money off of going to college.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Many times in abusive relationships, the abusive partner will hinder their partner from handling or learning about the household finances. If you need a basic financial education, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has put together free, downloadable resources specific to your needs.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline. No matter what you want to discuss, whether it’s a physical exit plan or finances after your departure, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is always just a free phone call away.
While they may not all have funds or grants to give you directly, get in touch with your state’s coalition against domestic violence. They can point you to state-run resources and other local organizations that may be able to lend a financial hand. You can find a full list for all 50 states here.
Many women’s shelters also provide grants for things like housing, education or even just cash financial needs. If you don’t know of a women’s shelter in your area, get in touch with the state coalition listed above or the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
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Thanks so much for writing this post and sharing some resources & encouragement for those who might be in an abusive relationship. Like you said, safety is the number one concern…but it’s good to know there are resources out there to help on the financial side.
Absolutely. If money is your only issue with leaving then hopefully this helps, but I’d call either the national hotline or the state coalition if there are any concerns beyond that, which there are in most cases. Need a full plan, and money is just part of it. Doesn’t always have to be a prohibitive part of it in certain cases, though.
“it’s not shameful to get help” – A huge obstacle that many face. What an important topic. Thank you for posting this. Great message. Practical information. “The obstacles are real. Others recognize this. It’s why the money exists. Use it.” Yes, yes, and yes.
It’s so hard… No one wants to feel like a charity case. I feel like there’s so much focus on individualism and bootstraps our society that it really shames people who need to reach out. And it shouldn’t. It takes a lot of bravery; those who do deserve admiration.
I love this post. Thank you so much for writing about this important issue. I used to (and sometimes still do) teach self-defense/safety classes to teens. Domestic violence is a big part of the discussion – when I tell the story about how abuse creeps in and develops in a relationship, I see recognition in more faces than you can imagine. Some have spoken about friends in abusive relationships. It’s an issue many face alone, but it’s so important to get help and help is available. Money can be a big obstacle – the information in your post is invaluable!
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