A few weeks after accepting a position in Scarborough, I began researching non-profits in my market. I came across The Kids First Center and spent the next few days researching and learning about the organization. I couldn’t help but think of the impact that Kids First has on families. With seven children of my own, I could appreciate the importance of creating a bit of stability in a difficult and unstable time in the life of a child.
Separation and Divorce is never easy for those involved and for those who have suffered financial abuse, it can be devastating.
Financial abuse is another form of intimate partner violence (IPV) used to maintain power and control. It can look different for every victim with or without the physical violence element. Although IPV isn’t restricted to women, they will more often be the victims of this coercive control. This abuse can come in many forms such as Economic Control, Employment Sabotage and Economic Exploitation. As a newly divorced mother of 7, I found myself in this particularly devastating situation.
This type of control strips away self-sufficiency such as having the income necessary to meet basic needs. I was convinced to step away from my career in banking and become a fulltime housewife. Although this worked for the good of my children, I lost my financial independence and relied on my partner for everything.
In order to prevent a victim from accessing money, an abuser may forbid work outside of the home or sabotage their current employment. This went hand in hand with economic control. Although I was able to work from home, all records and tax returns were filed in his name. I showed zero income during the 14 years of marriage and when opportunities arose to work, they were highly discouraged.
This is the most severe aspect of financial Abuse. The abuser will intentionally destroy the victim’s financial resources or credit, refuse to pay bills or gamble away joint money. Fortunately, I was less impacted by this form of abuse. My credit was spared but became nonexistent.
Rebuilding may feel overwhelming for victims, but there is hope. Workschops such as the Kids First Program for Women provides information about parenting, abuse, safety planning and community resources. Organizations like FreeFrom help to build or rebuild financial security by creating an ecosystem in which survivors can thrive. Understanding basic financial principles is the first step in putting things together to start over.
Pulling all three credit reports at Annual Credit Report.com - Home Page is another crucial step in assessing your financial health. Reviewing reports can bring to light any accounts that were opened fraudulently. It is also a good idea to freeze all three credit reports to avoid any future credit pulls. This freeze can be removed upon request with a secure pin.
Getting back into the work field can be intimidating but extremely gratifying. Non-profits such as www.pathforward.org empower those trying to restart their careers after time spent caregiving. Worldwide | Dress for Success empowers women with education, training and professional clothing to help search for and obtain employment. Several of these resources were vital to my recovery 11 years ago and are able to assist others today.
- Marjorie McAvoy
Kids First Center Board Member
“I learned how important our behavior (verbal and non-verbal) is, and how it impacts our children. How I can rise above all issues, and just focus on my babies.”
“What I learned was that the best thing I can do for my kids is to say something good about their other parent!”
“I appreciated the focus on how many different relationships my/our kids are dealing with.”
“I learned I am in control of my behavior; I can’t control my co-parent!”
“I received validation; it helped to know that I’m not alone. I appreciated the section on preparing for court – that is coming up soon and I am scared.”