When you are dealing with abuse of women, one of the most important aspects of staying safe is knowing where to go and what resources can be approached. Unfortunately, the majority of women suffer in silence and feel ashamed of revealing their challenges or asking for help. Still, if we are turning to statistics offered by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we can see that about 80% of females questioned between 1994 and 2010 have spoken about facing intimate partner violence. Moreover, we also have about 8 million paid workdays that are lost annually because of the cases of abuse by the male partner. Speaking of men, we have only about 20% of intimate partner violence in the same period between 1994 and 2010. Turning to the Allstate Foundation, we can see that the number of people who are physically abused by their partner every five minutes equals 120 persons. Finally, it must be noted that the victim's financial stability is always affected the most and has a negative impact that lasts from ten to twenty years.
The most important aspect that must be considered when dealing with an abusive relationship or when knowing someone who is going through the woes of sexual abuse or other kinds of domestic violence is having the hotline help number always at hand. Do not think twice and reach out for professional help immediately! Remember that you will be protected and your information will be kept confidential regardless of your spouse’s resources. If you are located in the United States, consider contacting these Hotline numbers:
- Call 9-1-1 for the general abuse cases or the emergency.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline number can be reached at 1-800-799-7233.
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network can be encountered by calling: 1-800-656-HOPE.
- Receive immediate legal help and advice by contacting the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence at 1-800-537-2238.
You must make a phone call and just say that you need help. If you cannot talk, explain your situation with the allegories and the code words because you will be dealing with an expert who will understand what has happened and will point you towards safety.
The Planning to Leave Guidelines
In basic terms, these are the recommendations as you are planning to leave and escape the abusive relationship even if temporarily. We all know that it is not easy to find the courage and confidence to leave and to make a major change in your life when it feels like no changes will ever take place. One must face the final barrier, both emotionally and physically. The very process of planning and preparing your trip is what helps to fight the fear even if you have to leave immediately. Here is what you must do:
- Cover Your Digital Tracks. Make sure that you erase your browser history and do not share any information regarding your plans. Keep your passwords safe and change them from time to time. Create an email account to communicate with the hotline addresses and keep your phone password-protected. Once you have changed your location, disable any GEOtags.
- Make Secure Copies of Financial Data. Keep secure copies of your bank information and the various statements or bank’s balance reports. Scan them, take pictures, and open an account that you can access in case of emergency.
- Have an Emergency Escape Bag. If your life is in danger or you are dealing with a situation when you must leave immediately, turn to this safety bag. It must include clothes, cash, basic medication, your financial documents, insurance, social security card, ID, and your children's documents to keep them safe.
- Keep Some Cash For Emergency. It does not have to be much but should be enough for the basic transportation needs and medication to provide you with financial assistance.
- Establish Connection With Social Services. Know your resources and keep the important phone numbers at hand.
- Think About Escape Destinations. Turning to the local agencies to keep things anonymous.
- Keep a spare key and have it hidden. It will help you escape the house or enter it in case of an emergency.
In terms of financial safety, consider leaving the joint bank accounts to keep your financial state secure. The most important is to have your ID information, the bottle of water, and immunization documents to have a place at the shelter.
The Emergency Help Options
Temporary Housing Options
- Domesticshelters.org - It has the largest directory of various shelters for domestic violence victims. It has numerous locations and can be contacted 24/7.
- New Hope For Women - This unique campaign offers safe locations for survivors of domestic violence and their children. It usually lasts for two years since it is the crisis phase period.
- Transitional Housing For Domestic Violence Victims. This NGO offers emergency residence for the victims of domestic violence with high confidentiality levels.
- Women's Shelters - It is the nationwide directory of safe shelters across the country for the victims of abuse.
You can turn to the following organizations in terms of short-term food assistance that can help you and your children during challenging times:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). You should have a low income, be unemployed, or go through the times of domestic abuse.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). It is a federal program that grants women food. It also has help for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and children up to the age of five.
- Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition of Grass Valley. This Californian group can provide you with food assistance in times of emergency. It also provides clothing and transportation.
Help Finding a Job
After you receive legal assistance by talking to the free legal services usually provided at the shelter, consider turning to:
- A.V.O.N Mentoring Program. While it is located in New York City, you can think over various services that help to connect professionals with the women who need help and require assistance.
- LiveYourDream.org offers various grants and scholarships for those who are looking for a job and need help after the domestic violence experience.
- Dress For Success is a great NGO that can offer help with professional development and the coaching that will help to find a job.
The Medical Needs
It is the most important aspect that you should consider because every victim of domestic abuse is suffering both physically and mentally. Here are some resources to think over:
- National Center for Victims of Crime. You can get your medical and even dental payments covered. Moreover, you can find a counseling specialist.
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helps women with low income to receive free or low-cost coverage of the health challenges for the children.
- The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation. You can receive cosmetic dental care at no cost if you are a survivor of domestic violence.
Make sure to provide your medical documents and always keep scanned copies or photographs to provide them when it is required.
Help Resources For College Students Dealing With Abuse
Another important form of abuse relates to students on campus. It may take various shapes starting from bullying based on physical disabilities or learning difficulties to sexual abuse or even dealing with the abusive family members. It also makes it almost impossible to achieve success in college. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, about 95% of rape cases that happen on college campuses are never reported. About 23% of female undergraduates in the United States have gone through mild sexual abuse and cases of violence. Speaking of the freshman and sophomore years, about 73% of female students have experienced unwanted sexual assault experiences. Thankfully, you can always call 911 and report the abuser or turn to the campus police officer. However, if you are facing economic or psychological abuse, you can approach your school counselor.
If you know someone who is going through campus abuse, do not run and report it to the police but try to talk to the person who is suffering and contact the police or the school officer together. This way you will help the person receive immediate help and will not ruin the terms and rules of confidentiality. Remember that even if you suspect something, you can easily do worse when you act alone. However, if the situation is obviously dangerous and life-threatening, do not think twice and call 911 with the report as it is your primary civil responsibility.
Scholarships for Survivors of Domestic Violence
As the last part of our financial help for women in abusive relationships guide, we shall focus on various scholarships for survivors of domestic violence. Here are some options to consider:
- Women's Independence Scholarship Program (WISP). This scholarship is offered to survivors of domestic violence, the single mothers with young children that experience great financial need. If you are a direct survivor of intimate partner abuse, consider this option.
- The Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund. If you belong to low-income women who have faced domestic abuse, you should check this scholarship. You must be 35 or older and strive for an associate or bachelor's degree. You should provide strong leadership skills.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink Scholarship. If you are a low-income woman and a young mother pursuing post-secondary education, you can win up to $5,000 after writing a short essay telling about your life.
- Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Scholarship. If you are facing economic, social, mental, or physical abuse challenges, you can win from $1,000 to $10,000 financial aid.
- Sophie Greenstadt Scholarship for Mid-Life Women Facing Crisis. If you are 35 and older and require help as you continue or re-enter college because of family issues, you can win up to $1,000 assistance.
- Women's Independence Scholarship Program. It can provide the victims of domestic violence with tuition help based on your undergraduate programs. You must be separated from your abuser for at least one year before you apply.
- The Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholarship. You can win up to $3,000. The money will go towards tuition, transportation, and childcare. If you have kids over the age of five, they will receive counseling. You must have clear career goals and be away from your abuser for a minimum of six months.
- Family Violence Prevention And Services/Grants For Battered Women’s Shelters-Discretionary Grants. It is offered by the Department of Health and Human Services for women who want to find a way out of abuse.
- The R.O.S.E. Fund. It is the foundation that asks for your help to break the silence regarding domestic violence. It is also aimed at the young girls to educate them and let their voices be heard.
- Lansing Community College Women’s Resource Center. If you are a single mother, a victim of domestic violence, a woman with a disability, or being a displaced homemaker, you should consider this fund.
- William S. Abell Foundation. This scholarship aims at battered women and their children. It will assist you with legal help, social services, crisis counseling, health services, education, and housing.
- General Federation of Women’s Clubs. It is a national organization that can help you with the studies by providing up to $1,000 scholarships for your educational purposes and medication.
Remember that the help is always there, which is why look for resources, do not stay silent, fight for your life and the children, and study our domestic violence solutions! Keep the faith and know that you do not have to live in an abusive home because it takes a single step to start a new life.