Financial Abuse: A Different Kind of Back-to-School Season

“The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds.” – John F. Kennedy

Sometimes it can be frustrating to be an ally for those suffering from intimate-partner violence. We can see what is happening so clearly, and we want the victim to see it, as well. It is so obvious to us, because we are looking at the situation through fresh eyes. We can detach from the situation; look at all aspects of the relationship objectively and intellectually; and make what we feel is the only logical conclusion. Our first instinct can be to continue pushing more-and-more, but that sometimes causes the victim to create a bond with the abuser.

This can be even more frustrating when the topic is financial abuse. Many women aren’t even aware that they can be victims of abuse without a punch, slap, or kick. That is why we need to come armed with knowledge. We can be prepared for the exact second that she does realize what is happening to her is abuse.

Back to School

The National Network to End Domestic Violence has teamed up with The Allstate Foundation to create a free, on-line certificate class on financial abuse labeled their “Moving Ahead Curriculum.” The course is designed to be taught by an advocate but contains resources to take the class on your own. This may be a good, free tools for all of us who want to help others escape the situations that we have escaped.

The mission is stated clearly on the website, which offers a myriad of resources. “In addition to helping nonprofits provide critical services for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation (formerly Purple Purse) offers a variety of tools for the public, concerned friends and loved ones and those experiencing abuse themselves.”

With modules that vary from explaining the basics of financial abuse and progressing through the stages of putting together a financial plan after escaping abuse, we can arm ourselves with information (End domestic violence resources 2021).

Communication Is Key

Most importantly, “The Allstate Foundation Moving Ahead Curriculum” has a conversation guide, which has specifically been designed to assist in talking with a loved one who is stuck in a financially abusive situation (Tips for helping someone experiencing domestic violence 2021).

“No matter what you did, you don’t deserve this.”

Finding that balance in being supportive, while not pushing too hard can be difficult. Learning how to strike that balance can be invaluable to maintaining a relationship with a friend through a tough situation. The point is to be the trusted, and level-headed ally when the situation presents itself.

Introspection

Those of us who have escaped abusive situations can also have a tendency to get arrogant in our successes. Taking a refresher course isn’t only good for our ability to support others, but it can also serve as a reminder to look at our own lives.

Are we in financially healthy relationships?

It never hurts to look at your own situation. After escaping abusive situations, it is easy to fall back into the same patterns in new relationships. It also is possible to overcompensate. We can be in healthy relationships, but remain so protective of our finances, because of things that happened in the past. Ideally, adult relationships should involve agreement on financial decisions. Reviewing this information can make our relationships better, even if we aren’t in financially abusive relationships (NNEDV and the Allstate Foundation: Help lock out financial abuse 2021).

Trust the Process

Please do not construe this blog as an endorsement of the program. It is just another resource that may be able to help you be a stronger survivor, better ally, and smarter person. This program is in no way affiliated with Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence. Still, in my experience, the best part of the internet has been the number of free educational resources that have become available with a few keystrokes.

All this month, Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence is going to be spending Domestic Violence Awareness Month to shine a spotlight on financial abuse. We can all make the commitment to learn more about this often-overlooked aspect of intimate-partner abuse. Armed with this information, we can be better prepared to be real allies. Armed with this information, we can adjust our lives. Armed with this information, parents can teach their children how healthy relationships are supposed to look physically, but also financially. How many of you have even thought about having that conversation with your children?

References
End domestic violence resources. The Allstate Foundation. (2021, July 6). Retrieved from https://allstatefoundation.org/what-we-do/end-domestic-violence/resources/.
NNEDV and the Allstate Foundation: Help lock out financial abuse. NNEDV. (2021). Retrieved from https://nnedv.org/spotlight_on/nnedv-allstate-foundation-help-lock-financial-abuse/
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Tips for helping someone experiencing domestic violence. (2021). Retrieved from https://allstatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/TAF-Convesation-Guide_Final-1.pdf.