Alena Victor, Assistant Director of Shelters of New York Asian Women's Center (Pacific/USA) gave a presentation on "Financial literacy and its impact on economic empowerment of domestic violence survivors".
View her video on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGbehfXpIzo&list=PLirO2hkV82ra7bYlUV9LVVtLfkKT0BEsM
The parallel event "Asian-Pacific Shelters: Going the Second Mile with Advocacy and Service Work" was held at the 58th NGO-CSW in New York, USA. To learn more about the Asian Network of Women's Shelters, please visit http://shelterasia.org/
Asian-Pacific Shelters' Panel Speaker (1-5) Alena Victor
FINANCIAL LITERACY: ECONOMIC
EMPOWERMENT AND IMPACT ON A
SURVIVOR OF DV
What to consider in developing
⦿Review of Financial and other types Abuse
and its impact on a survivor
⦿What is economic empowerment?
⦿Intervention strategies in working toward
◼ 1 in 4 will women will experience DV in her lifetime
◼ 41 –61% of Asian women report experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by an
intimate partner during their lifetime. This is higher than the rates in a national study
reported by Whites (21.3%), African Americans (26.3%), Hispanics of any race (21.2%),
people of mixed race (27.0%), and American Indians and Alaskan Natives (30.7%), and
Asians and Pacific Islanders (12.8%). (2000)
◼ There were 50,088 reported cases of domestic violence in 2006
◼ NY: Victims of IPV lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence
◼ NY: The majority (73%) of family violence victims are female. Females were 84% of spousal
abuse victims and 86% of abuse victims at the hands of a boyfriend.4
⦿ Women receive a greater number of injuries from multiple batterers
⦿ This analysis of existing data also found that women experienced more economic
abuse and physical abuse than men, and the risk of experiencing physical abuse
among those who also experienced economic abuse was 4.68 times greater than
those who did not experience economic abuse (Outlaw, 2009).
⦿ In addition to experiencing economic abuse, survivors also face greater
challenges managing finances as survivors and as women (Anthes & Most, 2000;
Johnson & Sherraden, 2007).
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2007
Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Research Report. Washington, DC:
National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; July 2000.
⦿ Forbidding the victim to work
⦿ Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the
workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important
meetings or interviews
⦿ Controlling how all of the money is spent
⦿ Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts
⦿ Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
⦿ Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions
⦿ Forbidding the victim from attending job training or advancement opportunities
⦿ Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
⦿ Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts
⦿ Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
⦿ Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
⦿ Hiding assets
⦿ Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance
⦿ Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay
⦿ Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score
⦿ Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for
“cheating or misusing benefits”
⦿ Filing false insurance claims
⦿ Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it
out by hiding or not disclosing assets
SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS OF ABUSE:
⦿ Internalized victim-blaming is deeper because several
family members blame the survivor.
⦿ Internalized devaluation is driven deeper because there is
more than one person saying things like, “You deserve
this” or “you’re worthless”.
⦿ Lack of allies within family structure minimizes social
support network available for the survivor to access.
⦿ Uncomprehending systems that the survivor comes into
contact with, are likely to respond inadequately.
⦿ Diminished credibility is afforded to battered women by
systems, families, and their own communities.
⦿ Battered women may be viewed as denying, minimizing or
not cooperating about a domestic violence incident
because investigative questions assume that the intimate
partner is the batterer.
⦿ Community attitudes towards survivors are a exploitative
tool used by the abusers as a tactic of abuse.
⦿physical and emotional scars
⦿ruined credit scores
⦿sporadic employment histories
⦿legal issues caused by the battering make it
extremely difficult to gain independence,
safety and long term security.
WHY FOCUS ON FINANCIAL LITERACY AND
⦿ A large contributor to a survivor choosing to stay in an abusive environment is
really making a choice between homelessness or financial security and poverty
⦿ Victims also may lack fundamental money management knowledge and skills to
survive on their own.
⦿ Many who decide to leave continue to remain in a poverty cycle
⦿ Lack of income and economic concerns is a common reason victims cite for
staying in abusive relationships. (Sanders & Schnabel, 2006; Turner & Shapiro,
1986; Zorza, 1991)
⦿ Recent research has documented economic abuse by intimate partners and
how such abuse impacts a woman’s confidence in managing financial
resources and her ability to achieve long-term safety and security (Adams,
Sullivan, Bybee, & Greeson, 2008; Fawole, 2008; Postmus, Plummer,
McMahon, & Murshid, unpublished)
⦿ In light of rising consumer debt, a volatile housing market, and increasing
complex financial products and information over the last decade, both the
public and private sectors have identified a growing need to better educate
and empower consumers, particularly women who are so often heads of
households (Hilgert, Hogarth, & Beverly, 2003; Hopley, 2003)
⦿ Research suggests that women face greater challenges managing their finances due
to social conditioning that reinforces women’s beliefs of their inability to manage
money, resulting in a reliance on men to manage their finances (Anthes & Most,
WHAT IS ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT?
1. an increase in financial literacy or the knowledge and
skills to make sound financial decisions and obtain
2. an improvement in economic self-efficacy or the belief
that one has the resources, options, and confidence to
3. an enhancement in economic self-sufficiency or
economic behaviors that demonstrate their economic
self-efficacy or financial literacy regarding personal
(Gowdy & Pearlmutter, 1993; Perry & Morris, 2005; Vitt, et al., 2000).
1. Financial capability and economic literacy
2. Work that is voluntary
3. Allowing room for self-determination
SOCIO-CULTURAL BARRIERS :
Lack of familiarity with systems and resources in
⦿ Language, economic, racial, cultural, religious,
professional and/or identity based barriers in
⦿ Shame as a barrier in many Asian communities
against seeking help
⦿ Repercussions towards abuser behavior is
minimal, increasing their entitlement to engage
⦿ Community attitudes of victim-blaming,
silencing, shaming and rejecting battered
women who speak up or seek help.
LIVING IN A SHELTER ENVIRONMENT
⦿ sleep disturbances.
⦿ self-care, self-esteem, and interpersonal skills are
compromised as a result of leaving an abusive
⦿ Distress children may be facing
⦿ faced with the task of adapting to their new environment
⦿ difficulty having a future focus
Creating a tiered/ stepped approach in intervening to break down the process for
⦿ Financial Safety Planning
⦿ Identifying Financial goals and steps that support achievement
⦿ Developing contingency plans
⦿ Strengthen women’s connection to and use of community resources and support
⦿ When economics are addressed, usually income, educational & employment are
the focus. Economic literacy is viewed as final stage of “education” provided to
women; after mental/emotional health & “life skills” (e.g., cooking, cleaning &
⦿ What would be provided first if men filled shelters?
⦿ While we advocate for empowerment of survivors, economic empowerment
needs to be explicitly included under this umbrella.
⦿ Therefore, we need to bring the interrelated areas of economic/emotional
abuse, economic literacy and wealth/asset building to the forefront of direct,
policy & research practice agendas
⦿ saving, budgeting, getting or repairing credit, cash flow management, purchasing
a home, predatory lending practices, financing major purchases, investing, and
wise spending habits
⦿ Economic Barriers
⦿ How many women return to the abusive
environment as a result of the barriers in
developing economic stability
⦿ What is the difference between a job and a
career, and why should that matter?
⦿ make a financial plan. Mersch recommends
victims begin by gathering financial information.
“Safely locate and make copies of documents
such as bank account statements, tax returns,
and your children‟s Social Security numbers. You
will need these items as you move toward