I was a member of the #PurplePurse team for an NJ-based group known as Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.). We are fundraising to start a safe house for women and children leaving domestic violence situations.
A concussion. A black eye almost hidden by dark sunglasses. A broken finger. Bruises on the arm. These are some of the expected signs of physical abuse. What can be harder to grasp is the emotional abuse and grooming disguised as possessiveness and concern. Even less acknowledged is financial abuse. Those who have free access to a joint or exclusive bank account may be unable to empathize with the level of power one spouse can have over another when the purse strings are locked and controlled by an abuser. The recent questioning about why someone would choose to stay in an abusive relationship focused on supposed strength of character and fear rather than financial means. But money is of utmost importance, especially when children are involved.
The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free.
That’s the push behind the Allstate #PurplePurse campaign. First, it’s about awareness, and then hopefully we can find the empathy to cease reacting incredulously when an abused spouse stays rather than leaves. The more we discuss the issues of domestic violence, the more we can help the one in four women who experience domestic violence during their lifetimes.
Some people doing their part to break the silence and shame surrounding domestic violence are below. Please take a few minutes to read and share.
From a blog called mathbabe, comes “Why the NFL conversation about Ray Rice is so important to me.” The author recounts her own experiences with domestic violence, including this: …it’s extra hard to imagine managing a second household, with small children, on one salary, when it’s already a huge struggle to manage one. The economic reality of leaving your husband has to be understood.
Meredith Viera shared her own story to add to the #WhyIStayed discussion. Not surprisingly, she was finally able to leave when she was offered a job that helped remove her from her abuser both financially and geographically.
Liz at Mom-101 goes into how her own attitude regarding women who stay in abusive relationships changed. She adds her usual dose of balance and common sense to the discussion.
Robin Givens, in a piece for Time Magazine about how social media is affecting the conversation, writes “People say: “That guy is so nice when he’s with me. What did you do? What did you say to him? He’s cool. I play golf with him. I can’t imagine him doing this.” Women are simply not believed.”
Leslie Morgan Steiner, in a piece for The Washington Post, lists time she wished she HAD left her abusive husband. Then she shares reasons why she didn’t. Well worth a read.
But take heart! Wringing hands and shaking heads need not be the only response to the issues behind domestic violence. Find a worthy group like SOFIA in your area to support with donations as well as attendance. Many run workshops to break the cycle of violence before it becomes entrenched, and many hold information sessions about how you can support a friend or family member in a domestic violence situation.
Please consider donating to the #PurplePurse campaign this year. The issue of abuse in the home and between intimate partners doesn’t go away just because it’s not front page news.