Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator
Domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse — it can also be emotional and economic abuse. In Naomi’s* case, her former partner manipulated her finances and stole money from her. He isolated her from her friends and family and threatened to kill her. Though Naomi wanted to leave him, she feared retaliation. She also needed him around to help pay the bills.
A recent survey of women who had experienced domestic violence showed that 74 percent of the survivors stayed with an abusive partner longer than they wanted to because of financial concerns. The manager of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish’s Economic Resilience Program explains how abusers sometimes use economic tactics to trap their victims in a recent Firesteel video.
When Naomi did break away from her abuser, she couldn’t afford rent. She and her two children spent a year and a half sleeping in shelters and on friends’ and family members’ floors and couches. Sadly, Naomi’s story is all too common; domestic violence is one of the leading causes of family homelessness.
Naomi wants her story to get people talking about domestic violence. We can only end the problem after we talk honestly about it.
What You Can Do
- Start conversations. Visit PurplePurse.com, a website designed to help people talk about domestic violence and financial abuse. When you register your virtual purse by entering the code 01286, Allstate will donate $5 to YWCA domestic violence programs.
- Share this video on social media, and “like” Firesteel on Facebook to follow all our content.
- Join a community event and learn more. If you’re in Seattle, attend the panel discussion “Building Bridges: Institutional Responses to Domestic Violence in Communities of Color.” The event will be on Friday, Oct. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the YWCA-Starbucks community store on the corner of 23rd and Jackson. This talk is part of the Week Without Violence, an initiative created by YWCA USA nearly 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs.
*This survivor’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.