Escaping Abuse Through Financial Freedom

Abuse is a complex issue that affects its victims beyond the pain and suffering of domestic violence and sexual assault. It destabilizes a victim’s entire world, complicating their path to healing, and one of the biggest hurdles that victims often must overcome as they work to move from victim to survivor is that of achieving financial freedom. A 2014 report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs and The Financial Clinic entitled “Barriers to Building Financial Security for Survivors of Domestic Violence” lists economic abuse as “one of the biggest obstacles to a survivor exiting an abusive relationship,” either tying victims to their abusers indefinitely or leaving those fleeing from abusive situations to suffer from financial ruin. Victims will often become “unbanked” for a number of reasons, ranging from being financially tied to their abusers through joint banking accounts, to not being able to provide a proof of address if they happen to be staying in a shelter. The impact of financial security on how abusers operate cannot be emphasized enough, with the Allstate Foundation calling it “the number one indicator of whether a domestic violence victim will stay, leave, or return to an abusive relationship.” In addition to raising awareness on the issues of domestic abuse and sexual assault and collecting donations of clothing and basic necessities for survivors, Heels on the Move to Heal is also focused on providing financial support to survivors, including for housing and utilities payments, transportation costs and more. This money is distributed year-round to survivors in order to get them what they need to be able to get back on their feet. Partnering with, First United Bank this organization is also taking direct action to help unbanked survivors establish a positive financial history that they can build upon as they look to rebuild their lives. The sad reality is that the cycle of abuse does not just end when a survivor leaves their abuser. The encouraging news is that organizations like Heels on the Move to Heal understand this challenge and are working tirelessly to address all aspects of the healing cycle.

Hillary Lynch

Creative Content Writer/PR Intern