- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On June 11, 2021
- abuse, career assistance, Chicago, chicago metropolitan area, Domestic Violence, domestic violence agency, emotional abuse, employment, Financial Abuse, job, Money Management, success stories, WINGS
Nearly all domestic violence cases involve financial abuse. However, WINGS has seen many stories of triumph and empowerment, which has been fueled by our community of supporters.
In FY2020, 72% of WINGS Safe House participants exited the program to more secure housing and 91% reported being more financially stable now than when they entered the Safe House.
While the need remains high, we want to highlight some specific ways survivors have worked to overcome financial abuse. Below are four examples of survivors triumphing over financial abuse.
1.From Unemployed to Saving in Three Months
A client came to WINGS Transitional Housing Program with no employment. Through regular meetings with WINGS staff and stable housing, she completed monthly budgets and worked on a savings goal.
Only three months later, the client found a full-time job and started building a savings account. Continually motivated to become financially independent, this client has enrolled in WINGS Money Management classes and shares “I’ve found this information to be very helpful and useful.”
2. Setting Short- and Long-Term Goals
A client shares her greatest takeaways from WINGS Money Management classes:
“I learned an important tool in saving is not just spending less, but setting aside money every time I earn income.
Short-term, my goals are saving for a down payment on a car and first new apartment costs. I would also like to save for an annual family vacation for my son and me, even if it is simply a long weekend, a couple hours away.
Long-term, my goals are to save and open a Money Market account to eventually pay for a down payment on a condo or house, as well as ‘peace of mind’ savings.”
3. Employment Specialist Intern Assists WINGS Metro Survivors
Recently, WINGS Metro was fortunate to have an employment specialist intern. Utilizing his specialized career-focused skill set, the intern assisted WINGS Metro clients to develop resumes, conduct mock interviews, and ultimately obtain employment.
Clients were offered this service when they moved into the Safe House and scheduled a time to meet with the intern. From August 2020 through December 2020, the intern met with 20 clients and 10 survivors updated their respective resumes.
Addressing Emotional Abuse
Megan, WINGS Supervisor of Clinical Services shares, “I think people are quick to judge others as being lazy or lacking motivation. Financial abuse is related to emotional abuse. Often a victim has been made to feel that he/she is worthless/stupid/no good and struggles to find the strength to ask for help or achieve independence.”
Below is an example of a client who addressed her emotional abuse and was then able to achieve numerous financial goals:
4. Seeing Through a Broken Mirror
Jessica came to the Suburban Safe House with her three-year old daughter. Highly ambitious, she set out a long list of goals she wanted to accomplish.
With support from WINGS Housing Programs and wrap-around support services, she obtained an apartment, advocated to receive child support, and filed for a divorce. Financially she started saving aggressively and paid off all of her credit card debt, which increased her FICO score. Additionally, she obtained her U.S. citizenship.
Jessica shares, “I came to the United States with high hopes and expectations after five years of waiting for a visa to join my husband. The reality hit, as slowly the dreams of a home filled with joy and laughter began to crumble.
He was emotionally, financially, and verbally abusive. As I saw myself through his eyes, I begun to question my own existence and sunk into such a deep depression. I summoned the courage to leave; it was hard, in a strange and foreign land.
God led me to WINGS, and in two short years I have accomplished so much more than all the years I stayed tied to his opinions. I established credit, bought a car, got a job, a house, and started a second degree with a clear path to a PHD in medical physics; the list is endless.
I stand here today not because I am strong or out of sheer luck, but because I made the choice to take my life back; with that choice, life realigned itself, putting people on my path that saw me as God sees me: precious, priceless, intelligent, worthy of love.
Here’s the thing, a broken mirror will always give you a flawed reflection of yourself, it is not you who is broken, but the mirror. Looking through the mirror of his eyes, I had no value, no worth.
But I changed my perspective and I began to see myself through the eyes of people at WINGS like Miss Jackie, Miss Katherine, Miss Megan, Miss Melissa, my beautiful baby girl…Thank you ever so much.”