"Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States" —Dianne Feinstein, Senator
Here are some scary statistics:
• Every nine seconds, a woman is battered in the U.S. (Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1994.)
• 95 percent of all victims of domestic violence are women (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, U.S. Dept. of Justice.)
• Domestic Violence is the single major cause of injury to women, more than muggings and car accidents combined (First Comprehensive National Health Study of American Women, The Commonwealth Fund, 1993.)
• Domestic Violence is the cause of 30 percent of physical disabilities in women. (California Department of Social Services. 1994.)
October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. I was shocked to learn that 1-in-4 women are in an abusive relationship and 1-in-3 women will be abused in her lifetime, according to the International Rescue Committee. When I used to think of abuse, I thought of black and blue eyes and being pushed through a shower door or thrown down a flight of stairs. Well, in my opinion, emotional abuse can be worse. For the bruises will go away, but the effects of being emotionally and financially abused can last for a long time.
Financial abuse is when every penny you spend is watched like a hawk and anything you buy gets scrutinized. Having a checking and savings account, your IRA and 401(k), and your car title all in your name will help guard against financial powerlessness.
As an avid advocate for women seeking financial freedom and security, I have supported not only my clients but also prospective clients through domestic abuse. What we often fail to realize is that domestic abuse touches every aspect of a woman's life. Not only can a woman be isolated from friends and family, but her own finances as well.
I had a client once that started writing out checks for $20 extra over the amount of her original purchase at the checkout. Doing this was the only way that allowed her to save money to exit her unhealthy relationship.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, please seek help for them. If they need financial help have them call our office at 763-231-9510.
Also, here are a few resources that I recommend and volunteer with: Domestic Abuse Project: 612-874-7063, Cornerstone: 952-884-0376, The Sojourner Project: 952-933-7422, and Tubman: 612-825-0000.