In 2005, The Allstate Foundation began investing in providing assistance to domestic violence victims. Their programs have provided almost a total of $43 million and aided nearly 600,000 survivors on the path to safety and security. In 2011, The Allstate Foundation began the Purple Purse program to raise awareness and start the conversation about domestic violence and financial abuse. It has grown from an awareness campaign, to a campaign designed to help the organizations that work with survivors in gaining financial independence. The Women’s Resource Center is excited to be a part of the 2nd Purple Purse Challenge, and to join in on the campaign to educate as many individuals as we can in regards to the seriousness of invisible weapons like financial abuse.
According to The Allstate Foundation research, a staggering 98% of victims of abuse are victims of financial abuse, leaving them feeling trapped into the relationship. It may start as a subtle statement such as, “I wish we could spend more time together. Why don’t you let me take care of the money and leave that job? Then you can be around when I get off work and we can go out. Move in with me, and I can give you the money you need each week.” At face value, this sounds like someone who loves her and wants to provide for her. In an abusive relationship, she will no longer have access to her own money, she will not have a place to go if she decides to leave, and it alienates her from contact with potential support systems. Financial abuse is not always subtle. More direct forms of financial abuse include creating situations to get the victim fired from work, taking the victim’s transportation to limit their financial potential, physical abuse leaving the victim in a state unable to complete work tasks so that they cannot gain financial independence, credit card debt, evictions, refusing to pay bills, withholding funds for medical needs and basic needs, and stealing the victim’s identity, identifying documents, property, or inheritance.
Financial abuse has devastating consequences for the victims. Without the money or assets necessary, they are unable to obtain a safe and affordable house. Financial abuse creates some extremely difficult obstacles to overcome. The Women’s Resource Center created our Transitional Housing program with these obstacles in mind. The Transitional House program provides a safe and affordable housing option with our 21 apartments units. The program works with the clients to create a budget, identify credit difficulties, build resumes, go back to school, or reenter the workforce. WRC’s main goal is to provide a path to self sufficiency. One of our recent graduates was generous enough to share her story:
“It is painful to remember the experience. Although, it is less painful now than when I arrived at the Women’s Resource Center. Here they have provided me with support, and I am really grateful to the staff. I arrived depressed and with insomnia, without clothing, work, or money. They taught me to lift myself up, and now I have a job. I didn’t think I would work again, but I’ve made it. Thanks to my Savings Plan (a WRC program) I will be able to purchase beds for myself and my children for the apartment we are moving into. My time at the Women’s Resource Center has finished, but I will continue going to school and succeeding now that I know I can.”
More than ever domestic violence agencies are operating with fewer resources, despite the increased requests for our services. Women’s Resource Center is excited to be able to join the Purple Purse Challenge to raise awareness, as well as raise money, for the assistance we provide survivors of domestic violence. All the proceeds on our Crowdrise page will come directly to our agency. Purple Purse will also be distributing the money that they raise from the sale of the tassels and the purses on Saks 5th Avenue evenly among all participating agencies. Join us in our campaign to end domestic violence by showing your support for the WRC and the Purple Purse Challenge.