By Fabiola Alfonso, Financial Education Specialist, YWCA Evanston/North Shore
After a financially abusive relationship, the road to financial well-being can be overwhelming, but it is not impossible. According to NCADV, 99% of domestic violence survivors also suffer financial abuse and they have the additional challenge of rebuilding their financial life. Financial abuse can leave a survivor with far-reaching, devastating costs and sometimes it takes years to rebuild financially.
After living in a domestic violence relationship where financial abuse is present, survivors may encounter the following:
- a lack of savings
- damaged credit
- lack of a stable income
- lack of confidence in financial decisions
All of these challenges may overwhelm survivors and some may choose to go back to live with their abusers. For those still living with their abuser, the decision is distressing when they have to decide between staying or facing homelessness.
It may seem disheartening, however, survivors have many options. Economic empowerment programs exist to educate, support and provide services to help survivors on their financial healing journey. YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s Leadership and Economic Advancement Program (LEAP) provides financial education, financial coaching, housing, and employment services to start and support their journey. YWCA strongly believes that a woman with economic power can provide dignity for herself and her children and she can be an active member of the community.
The impossible becomes possible when survivors work on their own financial well-being alongside a counselor, a financial coach or an educator that can support and encourage them to move forward.
Women become empowered when they have a stable source of income, learn how to budget, and work on building or repairing their credit. When they have savings, they have hope that their journey to financial healing will bring a more secure future. They can take pride that their efforts will bring them closer to a thriving financial well-being free from financial abuse.
For more information about YWCA’s economic empowerment programs, go to www.ywca-ens.org/womens-empowerment.