Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

Note: This post may contain triggers for those who have been in abusive relationships or been through sexual assault.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To highlight the issues that victims face physically, emotionally and economically, Femme Frugality will be discussing the issue every Friday. Except this Friday, I got the post up late. My apologies.

We will explore these issues through a mix of stories, conversations and factual articles. To help raise awareness, please use the hashtag #DVAM when sharing these articles.

I didn't know domestic violence qualified you for a special enrollment period! So glad so many states have expanded Medicaid Expansion for exactly this reason.

There’s a lot of financial rebuilding to do after you’ve escaped an abusive relationship. Just some of the things you may have to worry about are:

  • Repairing your credit report.
  • Finding employment.
  • Building savings.
  • Paying for any necessary occupational education.
  • Applying for benefits which may help you get reestablished.

All of these things are important, and necessity may dictate that you handle them all immediately.

However, you’re also going to be dealing with some other pretty serious stuff after you leave. First, you’ll need to work with a professional to make sure you are safe.

But even after you have that basic need covered, you’ll likely be battling the after effects of psychological, emotional and/or verbal abuse, which can escalate as far as PTSD and can prevent you from doing seemingly simple things like paying the bills, filling out the welfare application or holding down a job even if you’re extremely well-qualified for your position.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure you have mental healthcare services. Healthcare itself can be cost-prohibitive, though, so today we’re going to look at some ways you can get your hands on health insurance as a first step to getting your financial life back on track.

Getting Health Insurance after Escaping Domestic Violence

In the States, you are required to carry health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay a tax penalty–though that penalty is eliminated starting in the 2019 tax year.

But you don’t want to dodge a tax penalty. You actually want healthcare services. Usually, you can only apply for health insurance through the marketplace during open enrollment, which is November 1 through December 15 this year.

However, when you leave a domestic violence situation you qualify for an exemption, and can apply for coverage right away even if it’s the day after open enrollment closed.

You may have lost your health insurance when you left your abuser. You may not have had it in the first place, or you may have had to leave the employer who provided you with your insurance thanks to the abuse.

If you’re low-income or living at 138% of the Federal Poverty Line, you will qualify for free Medicaid coverage free of premiums or deductibles in most states which have adopted Medicaid Expansion. A handful of these states have wonky Medicaid Expansion laws which may prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid thanks to adjusted income limitations or may require you to pay small premiums or deductibles.

Some states have not expanded Medicaid at all, though, so you may not qualify for this free or close-to-free coverage even if you are living below the poverty line. Instead, you’ll have to pay for an ACA Marketplace plan which will be subsidized based on your income level. States that have not adopted Medicaid Expansion are:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Florida

Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion will kick in on January 1, 2019, and Maine was supposed to have expanded by now, but the governor has been illegally blocking implementation.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you should still apply for it through the marketplace anyways. This will allow you to purchase a marketplace plan.

If you really, truly feel like you can’t afford your health insurance off the marketplace–even with subsidies–there are a couple of other options.

First, you could forgo health insurance and seek mental health care elsewhere. Your local domestic violence shelter is a good place to seek out these services. You may not be able to get a bed as many of these shelters are frequently full, but many times they can connect you with mental health care.

I don’t like the idea of you forgoing health insurance. Even though the tax penalty is going away, it’s still a risky gamble to go without it. You may find yourself needing healthcare outside of mental health services, and if you’re caught without health insurance, that could mean financial ruin via medical debt.

Another option is to go through a Healthcare Sharing Ministry. You pay a smaller monthly fee, and then the group will use the pooled fees to cover your medical expenses when needed. There are a few problems with this method:

  • These groups are religious, and I’ve only seen them among Christians. So you’ll either have to be a believer or feel okay lying about your faith or lack thereof. Not a problem for many in this country, but it is an obstacle for some.
  • Many of these groups do not want you to have a preexisting condition. If you do, you may not qualify for membership. As a survivor, your mental health care needs are likely to be considered a preexisting condition. (Hooray if you find a group who lets you in, though!)
  • You are not guaranteed coverage. Some groups are really great about covering everything, but not all health care situations will be covered depending on the group’s bylaws. You still might run into the same problem as filing claims with an insurance company, except these ministries are not as highly regulated.

Access to Care

Getting access to quality health insurance in the United States is still a difficult task, though it has gotten easier in the years since the ACA passed. The good news is that because you are a domestic violence survivor, you will actually have an easier time getting a policy thanks to the open enrollment exemption. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to get coverage, but it does mean  you should have a slightly easier time than the general population as a whole.

You may want to call around to different therapists who will accept your insurance at the same time as you are applying for it. In many parts of the country, mental health is understaffed. It’s not unheard of to end up on a wait list. The sooner you can get on that list, the better.

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

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The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

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Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

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8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

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While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

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The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

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Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Note: This post may contain triggers for those who have been in abusive relationships or been through sexual assault.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To highlight the issues that victims face physically, emotionally and economically, Femme Frugality will be discussing the issue every Friday. We will do this through a mix of stories, conversations and factual articles. To help raise awareness, please use the hashtag #DVAM when sharing these articles.

Wow. I never thought about how outside prejudice might affect a woman's ability to report domestic violence. This is such an important read.

Domestic abuse is an epidemic-level problem in our society. The complexities of the dangers you find yourself in when you are being abused make it hard to leave. To report. To recover.

These problems are compounded, however, when you’re a member of a marginalized group. Today, we’ll look at some excerpts from The Feminist Financial Handbook, which comes out Monday and is currently 33% off for preorders.

In this section of the book, I was honored and humbled that Nour Naas–a survivor and advocate–shared her story and perspective as a Muslim woman who has lost her mother to domestic violence. Here are just some of her perspectives on how Islamophobia compounds the problem of reporting–both within a community and to authorities–and the economic effects of abuse.

“After my mother passed away, I didn’t want to talk about it,” says Naas. “The Muslim community is already targeted in so many ways through stereotyping and policies. I didn’t want to add to it. There are really obvious ones like invading all these Muslim countries and occupying their lands, speaking about people from or in those countries as primitive, saying things like, ‘We’re there to save them,’ and giving people this concept that these people are different from us, living in a backwards culture. But there are also stereotypes about Muslim men and women that make it hard to talk about. Men are supposedly violent and patriarchal; women submissive and in need of saving. You don’t want to reinforce any of that.”

Naas notes that Islamophobia is at times also in evidence at the institutional level, creating a mistrust of law enforcement that affects victims’ decision to report. In the Muslim community, mosques have been surveilled by law enforcement. Racial profiling is widespread. The police haven’t been on your side so far—why would they help now?

“Not having finances to leave your abuser is the number one reason women don’t leave,” says Naas. “They would have nothing to survive on. It’s a source of a lot of people’s depression when they’re in that situation. When you don’t have resources to leave, it just makes people feel hopeless.”

“You’re not in a state of mind to do anything because of those psychological scars,” Naas explains [about returning to work after escaping abuse]. “There’s a stigma attached to what a victim goes through. It can impact a person’s work performance or their ability to bring in an income at all. Women who are in these situations will sometimes resort to drugs or drinking, etc., to cope with the pain. That ends up being where all their money goes.”

Today, Naas is a political science major at UC Berkeley. About a year ago, she took her first training to be a domestic violence advocate and has been serving as a volunteer in her communities ever since. She has a special place in her heart for marginalized women— especially Muslim women. She is launching a new effort to create safe spaces for these survivors to share their stories and get help.

“Talking about domestic violence and making people aware can help get rid of the stigmas we have around it,” she explains. “That way, if this is happening, you know you just need to tell someone that it’s happening. We need a community of people who will help— who know it’s not okay either. That attitude is not really there in the Muslim community or in most of the country, for that matter.”

To learn more about Nour, visit her website. From there, you’ll be able to find her social media channels. You can also get more of the context of her comments and some potential financial recovery solutions in the book.

If you purchase, please leave a review on Amazon! It will help us get Nour’s important story and perspective out to more people.

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

domestic violence advocate

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

supreme court

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

There is a lot of stigma around debt. There is a lot of stigma around domestic abuse. But debt is a useful tool that can help you become a survivor.

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

 

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

Note: This post may contain triggers for those who have been in abusive relationships or been through sexual assault.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To highlight the issues that victims face physically, emotionally and economically, Femme Frugality will be discussing the issue every Friday. We will do this through a mix of stories, conversations and factual articles. To help raise awareness, please use the hashtag #DVAM when sharing these articles.

Wow. I never dived this deep on the economics of being a sexual assualt or domestic violence survivor before. Sad but important food for thought.

My experience watching the Ford v Kavanaugh hearing was intense. Much more intense than I expected it to be. I was not prepared for the outcome of those hearings. The vote. The pure dismissal of a clearly viable claim simply because it hadn’t come at a convenient time for the majority party.

The message to survivors that, “Even if we believe you, we kind of don’t care.”

I was so overwhelmed I had trouble staying awake most of the weekend. My brain was trying to reconcile the American values I was brought up with–which have admittedly always been patriarchal, but still had some semblance of striving towards a higher morality–versus what was unfolding before my eyes.

Today I want to take a look not at Kavanuagh’s obvious lack of fitness for the highest court in the land, but rather at the economic effects of sexual abuse that were revealed in Dr. Ford’s testimony.

I’m making this decision because his unfitness stands bare for all with eyes to see and therefore does not require my additional comments. But the financial implications for Ford may need to be highlighted for those who were not looking for them.

I’m just someone who watched this hearing. I do not know Dr. Ford or all of her life circumstances, so I’m going to do my best to be careful about the assumptions I make of her personal situation. But there were some specific issues she brought to light in her testimony that extend to many survivors. We need to talk about these more at a societal level.

This clip is from Dr. Ford’s opening testimony:

Accommodating PTSD

At 8:40 in the above video, Dr. Ford starts recounting how she told her husband about the specific details of her assault. They had been fighting because during a remodel, she wanted a second front door–another way out. The claustrophobia she experiences is a direct result of feeling trapped in that room as she was assaulted. Helpless.

During the questioning phase of the hearing, she explained this, along with the fact that she has experienced other PTSD-like symptoms throughout her life–especially in the first few months after the attack. That made it harder to focus on school like she wanted to for a time.

The economic implications here are that she had to spend more money remodeling her home to accommodate her psychological scars. Dr. Ford is obviously very accomplished in terms of her education and career, but for other women (and veterans of all genders–the most highly studied group affected by this disorder), PTSD symptoms can prevent them from keeping gainful employment. We also know it can negatively affect investment behavior.

Bothering You at Work

At 15:30, Dr. Ford relays how she was harassed at work after her identity came out. Her students, colleagues and superiors were brought into this circus.

First of all, this is why it’s important that survivors have complete say over when and in what forum their story is shared. Dr. Ford could have lost her job over this, and she should have been allowed to protect her work and reputation as she saw fit.

Secondly, Dr. Ford’s experience is a bit unique in that the workplace harassment did not come directly from her abuser. For many other women, it does. One aspect of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is stalking. Employers don’t like having stalkers hanging around the premises, so often these situations result in a forced resignation.

When you look at abusive situations that involve other tactics which don’t necessarily include stalking, 21%-60% of abuse victims lose their jobs due to complications directly resulting from their abuse.

Those and more terrible stats here.

Moving House

The second door was no longer enough to help Dr. Ford feel safe after her name was made public. She received death threats, had her personal information leaked on the internet, and her extended family had the same happen to them as she shares at 17:00.

The Fords literally have to move house because of this. Other survivors have to do this as well on the regular, but they often do not have the access to the same level of security as Dr. Ford. Sometimes it becomes necessary to make sure those who would hurt you can’t find you–whether they be the assailant themselves or hateful individuals who want to hold up the patriarchy and punish women for speaking out. It’s an expense that has monetary and emotional consequences.

Legal Costs

I have no idea how the costs of legal representation are being handled for Dr. Ford, but I’m so happy she has two lawyers by her side.

The cost of legal representation is often a stretch for victims, and a prohibitive one at that. Even if they do want to come forward.

Assault is not okay in my America.

Believe women. Listen to women. And respect women when they are brave enough to come forward.

No. You know what?

Just respect women always.

P.S. Respect =/= Rushing to get an accused sexual assailant on the Supreme Court because your party is about to lose power in the midterm elections.

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

domestic violence advocate

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

supreme court

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

There is a lot of stigma around debt. There is a lot of stigma around domestic abuse. But debt is a useful tool that can help you become a survivor.

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

 

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, Femme Frugality is running a series on the topic every Monday. This series includes a mixture of factual pieces and personal stories.

The final post of the month is contributed by Kenisha Burke–a Communications Professor, Author and a Motivational Speaker. She has spent years motivating and inspiring audiences to tell their truth and empower themselves.

She is the author of Silence No More and the creator of the Silence No More Project which chronicles the effects of silence in her life and other sexual assault victims.

Please use the hashtag #DVAM2017 when sharing this article on social media.

Note: This post may contain triggers for survivors of abuse.

I didn't realize what a large economic toll being a victim of childhood abuse can take. Such an important story from an amazing survivor!

I grew up in a home where I never knew if the electricity would be on, the car would be repossessed or if there was enough food in the refrigerator. I was thirteen years old when my mother forged my age on a document so that I could get a job.

For most of my life I did not know this was unusual, but money is an issue for people from my community. A lack of education placed my family in a perpetual cycle of financial crisis where more was spent than earned, and there was never a nest egg to fall back on.

What’s Credit?

I will fully disclose that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and that lead to some of my naivety as a child and a teen. I had to hide from people and keep secrets. As a result, I did not interact with people on the same level that other children did.

Entering the workforce at thirteen made me realize that my family needed money. Every time I got paid, I was asked to provide funds for a bill or food. When I was sixteen, I was working almost fulltime while attending high school.

I had no concept of credit or financial responsibility. I did not even know what it was. I watched my family bounce checks and accumulate bills–never thinking of the consequences.

My main concern in life was to do well in school so I could leave home and escape my abusive household.

Bad Credit

When I was a freshman in college I found out that I had bad credit.  This discovery changed the course of my life.

I remember walking through the quad and seeing all the credit card vendors soliciting. I stood in line with several of my friends to obtain my first credit card.

The exact same week a friend questioned me about not having a cell phone, which was something I had never even thought about. I did not have anyone to call and never really saw the need. My new friends were outraged that I did not have a phone and said that I needed one for safety purposes.

I thought about it for a while and a few weeks later, I went to the mall to obtain a cell phone.  It was while I was at the cellphone kiosk that I found out that I had bad credit. I was turned down for a cellphone account because of my credit. The same day when I arrived back to my dorm I received a rejection letter from the credit card company.

The Fall Out

I was upset and confused because I knew that I had never obtained anything with my credit before. The credit card denial came with the notification that I could obtain my credit report to find out why they turned me down for credit.

I contacted the credit agency and requested my credit report.  While I was waiting for the report to come, I started doing research on credit.

When the report arrived, I was already aware of the consequences of these denials. What I was not prepared for was the amount of debt that had been accumulated in my name. I was thirty thousand dollars in debt and some of the accounts had been opened in the last year.

I Can Fix This

I contacted the campus lawyer and brought him my credit report. Thinking the bills were created without my knowledge and I was not old enough to create these bills, I was confident I could fix this and be able to start my life without bad credit.

I was wrong.

The campus attorney told me that to remove the items from my report I would have to press charges against the person who created the accounts. That person was my mother. I knew it was my mother because she was the only person who had access to my social security number.

When I contacted my mother to ask about the information on my credit report, she acted as if it was no big deal. She admitted to using my credit and said she would take care of it, but I knew she wouldn’t.

I never had the heart to press charges against my mother. I had bad credit and I could either pay the bills or wait seven years for some of the bills to be removed from my credit report.

My Solution to Economic Abuse

I went through college ignoring the fact that I had bad credit. I paid for everything in cash and if I could not afford it I did not buy it. I was supporting myself financially with two jobs while in school. I was unable to go on spring break or take road trips with my friends.

I was eventually able to get a cellphone in my senior year of college, when cell phone companies allowed people with blemished credit to get accounts.

After graduation, I found a car lot that would sell to consumers with poor credit and obtained a loan. I made sure to pay that loan on time, and within a few years I obtained a secured credit card.

I started to create positive credit in my name and payed for a credit monitoring service so I would know if any new accounts were opened in my name.  My mother tried to use my credit again, but I was notified by the monitoring company as soon as the attempt was being made. As a result, no more fraudulent accounts were ever established.

Where I am Today as a Survivor

I have done the hard work of repairing my credit on my own. It was not an easy journey. I am hypervigilant now about my credit and bills, but that is just a result of my past experiences. What I have found out is that I am not alone–there are a lot of children who have bad credit.

It is called identity theft, but it is the one that seems to be the least prosecuted and the easiest for parents to do. Until something is done to prevent the abuse of a child’s social security number this will remain a problem in America. Financial literacy is not taught in many schools, and most children will not know until they are adults that they have bad credit.

 

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

domestic violence advocate

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

supreme court

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

There is a lot of stigma around debt. There is a lot of stigma around domestic abuse. But debt is a useful tool that can help you become a survivor.

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, Femme Frugality is running a series on the topic every Monday. This series includes a mixture of factual pieces and personal stories.

Today’s post is contributed by Michelle Bobrow–the Chief of Cha-Ching at The Holistic Wallet where she teaches the creatively-inclined how to manage their money with ease.

As a self-proclaimed recovering personal finance addict, Michelle focuses on money psychology to integrate healthy and balanced financial habits into our lives. Through strategic planning and mindful coaching, Michelle turns numbers into a work of art as she designs holistic budgets and sustainable systems for you to pay off your past, save for your future, and enjoy the present.

You can follow Michelle on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Please use the hashtag #DVAM2017 when sharing this article on social media.

Note: This post may contain triggers for survivors of abuse.

This woman is crazy strong to live through the abuse. Just goes to show debt isn't always evil.

Personal finance is so important to me because the factor of money is often what keeps us from pursuing truly autonomous and authentic lives. Personally, I’m no stranger to choosing financial stability over jumping into the unknown of my self-sufficiency.

But it was an abusive relationship that pushed me to make the leap. Running from my ex meant running into debt. Although this is frowned upon in personal finance circles, I can guarantee it was a safer option than staying in such a toxic relationship.

While I can certainly empathize how staying in an abusive relationship can seem like the only option at times – financial and otherwise – leaving such a relationship can be a positive move, even if you can’t immediately see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Today I write to you as a survivor of debt and domestic abuse and I would like to take this opportunity to share my story in the event that speaking my truth can help someone else.

Taking on Debt to Escape an Abusive Relationship

Earlier this year, I called off my engagement and moved 1,500 miles across the country to escape months of narcissistic abuse that had a devastating impact on my psychological health. I never understood quite how resilient the human spirit is until I summoned the courage to get out.

I’m still working on forgiving myself for letting that relationship go on for as long as it did, but leaving it was the greatest act of self-love and self-care I have ever committed. However, it didn’t have quite as positive of an impact on my financial health. (Well, not yet. It will pay off in the end because financial abuse is no joke either but that’s a story for another time.)

I am writing to you now with $5,566 of credit card debt and $2,813 of medical debt that I am scheduled to pay off in 18 months costing $479 in interest. With the interest-free credit options available to me, I assure you I’m getting off easy.

I’m sure there are plenty of ways I could have started this new chapter of my life more frugally – six separate households offered to take me in indefinitely and I lost count of all the hand-me-down furniture offers – but I accepted as many favors as I could stomach while also rebuilding my sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

Debt Bought My Freedom

Debt isn’t quite synonymous with freedom, but for me it most definitely is.

The debt I carry now is directly related to that traumatic period of my life. It is the cost of leaving and the cost of surviving. It is symbolic of being both a victim and a survivor. And because of that, I am proud of my debt.

See, in the months before I left, I thought I had to fake being happy until one of us died. Because there was no other way out. My life would be intolerable if I stood up to her and walked away.

Writing that seems petty now that I’m on the surviving side but I was so traumatized by my ex’s erratic behavior – the fear of the financial mess it would create, of the violent retaliation and public defamation, and of losing everything I had worked so hard for over the past several years – that I just didn’t think I was capable of watching it all come crashing down.

I Became My Own Hero

The break-up was just as messy and painful as I anticipated it would be but I got through it because I knew I had to prove to myself that I could be my own hero. And as someone who coaches women on economic empowerment, it would be hypocritical of me for financial matters to stand in the way of a healthy and safe life.

Let me be clear: If you don’t like where you are, you can leave. Your safety is more important than the price tag, the stigmas, and the messiness. I’ll never say that it is easy, but it is attainable. And we all deserve to be safe and to be treated with kindness.

NOTE: Before you make any moves, be sure to set a safety plan in place for your specific situation as leaving can be the most dangerous time—even if your partner hasn’t gotten physical to date. You can get help making this plan by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

I am writing this now with a HUGE bittersweet grin on my face because I have been the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my entire life these past few months. I am very, very, very grateful I am here right now to experience this.

I don’t remember when it clicked, but now I see my debt as a trophy of survival. I make a $500 payment every month as my big middle finger to the stigmas of debt, domestic abuse, and psychological trauma.

Your Net Worth Does Not Define You

There are times when I feel like a fraud in my industry because I am simultaneously ashamed and proud of my debt. This industry still does a good job at debt-shaming which is ridiculous because our entire economy is built upon debt – businesses have it, banks have it, the government has it – but I digress.

I try to speak to myself as I would speak to anyone else who would come to me with a similar situation. And I said “Your story is not over yet. Your debt will not define you. This struggle will not be as permanent as death.”

Debt is not the end of the story.

Debt is not defeat. Debt can be resilience.

I can tell you this with certainty because I have debt and it feels like both a horribly traumatic mistake and a modern financial tool that has saved my life.

There is always something else on the other side of that debt or depleted savings. It does not appear out of nothing. Maybe it’s something tangible that you own like a couch or an education. Maybe it’s just a story, a lesson, or a personal growth experience.

That is not to say that my debt in the past wasn’t shameful, that a big number of negative dollars didn’t feel like it would follow me for as long as I lived, that I didn’t consider I was worth more dead than alive once I had life insurance.

Debt can feel like a heavy burden to drag along. Debt can represent a mistake, a bad call, a distressing period of your life. It can be another big thing you have to worry about when you’re already worrying about so much.

Whether it’s medical debt for a false alarm or a life-saving surgery, whether it’s a destructive shopping habit or daily life essentials on your credit cards, whether it’s a mortgage-sized amount of student loans for a degree you never used or one that led you to your dream job…

Whether that debt is your escape route out of a relationship that is destroying your mind, body, and soul…

Know this: You did what you had to do with the means and mindset available to you at the time. You are here now. And you are breathing.

Debt is Not Permanent

If your debt does not represent a personal triumph, if your debt is the trauma itself, I promise you it is not permanent. I promise you will have other wins. I can easily name 50 things I am grateful for now that I am still here to write this article.

I still cannot find the words to express how liberated I feel these days that I still have a voice. I am still afraid to use it at times, especially being a public figure on the internet, knowing my livelihood can be destroyed in a very public way and I will have no power to stop it.

But I have faced this beast before and I will let my body decide when my time is up before my mind does. I hope you continue to stand up to your beasts, too – debt or otherwise.

 

 

 

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