One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in her life, and 99% of victims will also suffer financial abuse. Abusers use financial control, isolation, and intimidation to keep their victims trapped. In fact, financial obstacles and financial dependence are primary reasons that many women stay in abusive relationships, especially if they have children. Almost every aspect of leaving an abusive situation involves money, like filling the car with gas, buying a bus or plane ticket, finding a new place to live, and putting food on the table.
What can you do if this is happening to you? Consider the following steps to help protect your money and financial future.
Unfortunately, we aren’t taught basic financial principles in school, and sadly, many women stay in abusive relationships because of money. You don’t have to be a financial professional to learn how to become financially free, build a savings, learn about basic investment strategies or how to make your money grow. There are many books and online resources that can help you get started.
Frequently, one person in a couple knows everything about the financial picture while the other person is totally in the dark. Even in healthy relationships, it is imperative that both parties know exactly what is going on. This also helps protect you from becoming a victim of financial abuse if things ever take a turn for the worst.
Common signs of financial abuse include: the abuser drains the bank account, denies or limits access to money and information about money, hides assets, demands a detailed accounting of how money is spent, criticizes financial decisions, threatens to withhold money, forces the victim to miss or be late for work, belittles the victim’s work of academic accomplishments.
Many women want to stay quiet and not let others find out about what they are going through. This makes things worse, not better. Women need to come together and speak out because your story and the steps you took to regain your financial footing could be exactly what can help another woman during this difficult time in her life.
Almost every aspect of leaving an abusive situation involves money. Even after they leave, many victims carry the burden of bad credit, judgement liens, bankruptcies and back taxes for years. This is why it is crucial to have an individual financial safety plan in place that can carry you at least six months and help pay bills, rent, food and other expenses.
Our women’s initiative is focused on making financial education and the financial profession more accessible to women, so no woman is left behind. Bringing awareness to domestic violence and financial abuse is part of our outreach to women. We believe that improving financial literacy for women will open more doors and windows. In these videos, you will hear from WealthWave leaders and survivor advocates about the problem and how we can help.
Andrea D. Jenkins shares her story of escaping an abusive relationship and becoming the strong victim advocate and business leader she is today. She also provides a special message in ASL for victims who are hearing impaired.
Listen to insights from Ivette Kuyateh, Victim Advocate & Former Prosecutor, and from Neisha Himes, Founder of G.R.O.W. (Girls Recognizing Our Worth) Foundation.
Neisha Himes delivers a powerful performance inspired by her personal experience and desire to encourage other women.
A survivor and thriver, Andrea D. Jenkins is on a mission to eradicate financial illiteracy and help women in abusive situations. She sets a great example for other women by leading her own financial business based in Macon, Georgia, as well as a hair and skin care business and jewelry line. In addition, Andrea is proficient in American Sign Language and is frequently asked to interpret financial information for deaf clients.
is a former prosecutor turned zealous advocate serving domestic violence and human trafficking victims. The daughter of a single mom who died at the hands of her abuser, Ivette has dedicated her life’s work to standing strong as a voice for the voiceless and advocating for the rights of others. She received her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of law in San Diego where Ivette distinguished herself as a Criminal Law Fellow, a published scholar on violence against women, and with her work at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Immigration Center for Women and Children, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, ABA Immigration Justice Program, and the San Diego Superior Court. Her tireless efforts have been recognized by several government, Latino and local community groups.
After leaving an abusive and toxic relationship, Neisha Himes has used her experience to help other domestic violence survivors. She started G.R.O.W. (Girls Recognizing Our Worth) Foundation to connect individual and families affected by domestic violence with resources and services needed to lead a safe and productive life free from abuse. Recently, Neisha joined the Newport News Police Department in Virginia as their Domestic Violence Outreach Liaison, playing a vital role in building the agency’s new domestic violence division from the ground up. Because of her incredible work, she has received several accolades including the “Inspire A Difference: Hero of the Month” from Investigation Discovery, in collaboration with People; the YWCA’s “2019 Woman of Distinction Award”; and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “2019 Voices In Action-Survivor Activist Award.”
To find resources in your area, go to https://www.domesticshelters.org.
To speak with an advocate, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
"Financial abuse is a big part of domestic violence, but you can protect yourself!"
Read Article >
"Literacy is critically important. Financial Literacy is just as critical."
Hear Podcast >
Tune in to this important discussion about domestic violence and financial abuse.
Watch Video >