Finding hope, funding healing
While most people equate domestic violence with physical or emotional abuse, a staggering 99% of cases involve a seldom-discussed form of control and intimidation: financial abuse.
“Financial abuse, whether you’re talking about ruining her credit, getting her fired or hiding the money, is just as effective in controlling an abused victim as a lock and key,” explains Kim Gandy, President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, or NNEDV. “Women are literally being forced, because of financial dependency, back into abusive relationships.”
With one in four women experiencing domestic violence at some point in her life, the need for supportive services is great. In a single day, nearly 73,000 victims are served by domestic violence programs across the U.S. – while nearly 12,000 requests for services are unmet due to a lack of resources.
True to Thirty-One’s mission to provide women with the tools they need to live purposeful, thriving lives, we are proud to support domestic violence survivors throughout the U.S. and Canada through two major partnerships – and prouder still to announce a new national support program launched with seed funding from Thirty-One Gives.
Introducing the Independence Project
In response to the alarming statistics surrounding financial abuse in domestic violence cases, Thirty-One Gives provided the NNEDV with the funds to establish a national project aimed at helping survivors rebuild their credit. Through the newly formed Independence Project, women who have met at least 3 times with a domestic violence advocate are offered a $100 microloan.
These loans may seem small, but according to the NNEDV, micro-lending is more about credit-building than about any specific dollar amount: Making regular payments with no interest over 10 months helps each of these women repair her credit. This is the first step toward securing an apartment lease, transportation to work and other means to break free from an abusive relationship.
Applications for the Independence Project are currently open in 17 states and will soon be available in five more. This growth means the ability to empower even more women and families: “We are excited to share information about the micro-lending opportunities available with survivors of domestic violence,” shared one domestic violence advocate, while a current borrower said, “I am really excited to be able to have this chance to work on rebuilding my credit.” Read more about the NNEDV and the Independence Project at nnedv.org.
Thirty-One Gifts Fund
The funds to launch the Independence Project came from a $90,000 donation from Thirty-One Gives establishing the Thirty-One Gifts Fund. The program has since earned support from other such notable partners as Major League Baseball and Verizon Wireless.
To mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S., Thirty-One Gives will match up to $31,000 of donations collected through Gives Round Up! in October to support the Independence Project’s Thirty-One Gifts Fund. Please consider joining us in helping survivors of domestic violence achieve economic independence and long-term stability by rounding up your purchases when you shop Thirty-One this October.
Women’s Shelters Canada
In addition to our work in the U.S., Thirty-One Gives is committed to supporting Women’s Shelters Canada, or WSC, an organization of shelters and transition houses united to end violence against women. This national service network represents more than 400 shelters across Canada and is designed to connect women and children fleeing domestic violence with the support they need. WSC also encourages concerned friends, family and colleagues to explore the resources available at endvaw.ca.
One of the key initiatives WSC offers is ShelterSafe.ca, an online connection portal that allows women in every province and territory to identify and contact a shelter in their area as quickly as possible. Women do not need to reside in a shelter to access these resources – all victims of domestic violence can use this service for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada, and Thirty-One Gives is honored to support the critical work WSC does throughout the country by matching up to $10,000 of Canadian funds collected through Gives Round Up! this month. We encourage you to shop Thirty-One in November and round up your purchase to support this amazing organization.