By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
At See the Triumph, we celebrate the courage and resilience of survivors of past intimate partner violence. They show this courage and resilience while they are in the relationship, as well as through the recovery process after the relationship ends. These personal strengths are needed to heal and recover from the many challenges that abusive relationships can bring--including physical injuries and other health-related consequences and the emotional toll of dealing with an abusive, controlling partner. In the face of these challenges, survivors show a remarkable amount of bravery as they work toward peaceful, safe lives for themselves and others.
This month, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2016, we’re taking a specific focus on another aspect of recovering from abusive relationships that doesn’t get discussed as much as the physical injuries and emotional and mental health consequences of abuse. However, this aspect of recovery can present huge challenges for survivors as they rebuild their lives following an abusive relationship. Our focus will be on financial recovery from domestic violence.
Through our research that is the foundation of See the Triumph, our eyes have been opened to the depths of financial challenges and costs that can stem from abusive relationships. Despite the extensive financial burdens that survivors can face--including physical and mental healthcare costs, challenges to gaining and keeping employment, and legal expenses--the financial consequences are often overlooked in comparison to the physical and mental health impacts of abuse.
Of course, the physical and mental health impacts are important to address, and one of the reasons that it’s important to address the financial impacts of abuse is because financial challenges complicate survivors’ recovery processes in other areas of their lives. For example, it’s much more difficult to heal emotionally and physically if a survivor can’t afford proper healthcare or counseling. Also, it’s more difficult to avoid returning to abusive partners if survivors don’t have jobs through which they can support themselves. And, the stress of living life on the brink of poverty can add an emotional burden to survivors’ daily lives that makes it more challenging to envision a positive, prosperous long-term future.
And so, this month for DVAM 2016, our focus at See the Triumph is to raise awareness about financial recovery from abusive relationships. We’ll discuss some of the different types of financial abuse, as well as delve more in-depth into some of the specific ways that survivors’ financial and economic well-being is impacted by abuse. As always, our aim is to show that--despite the many challenges that they often face--survivors’ courage and resilience is truly remarkable. Far too many survivors begin their recovery process with virtually no financial resources to their name. The fact that they embrace this daunting process in pursuit of a safe, peace-filled life is just one more reason that survivors warrant our respect, support, and admiration.