Impact, Hardship

The price of freedom – How one woman escaped an abusive relationship and regained financial stability

Around this time every year, we share stories of courage, relief and hope as we reflect on the significant role that emergency financial relief plays in boosting the well-being of the workforce during crisis.

In our work, “crisis” refers to times of natural disasters or personal hardships. Most of us are familiar with the concept of disaster; after all, hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires often make headline news. Hardships receive far less attention – but they are no less challenging for individuals and families around the world, whether they are experiencing the death of a loved one, short-term illness or instances of domestic violence and abuse.

Sadly, domestic violence is one of the most common hardship applications we receive. These women and men have experienced physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of a loved one, and they turn to their companies – our clients – for support. Many of them are forced to leave all their personal belongings behind, to move hundreds or thousands of miles away and to restart their lives with limited resources. This is the story of one of those brave survivors who reached out during her time of need.

In August of 2022, our applicant (whose name will remain anonymous to respect her privacy) was assaulted by her husband for the second time in their marriage. The incident involved direct threats to her life and occurred in front of her two children, ages 6 and 7. The next day, she gathered her children and fled. She contacted the police and was granted an emergency protective order.

At first, she found safety at a local domestic violence shelter, where volunteer lawyers helped her obtain a two-year restraining order against her husband. She also initiated a divorce and found a one-bedroom apartment to house her family of three. She was concerned about the surrounding neighborhood – if it was safe enough for her young children – but it was all she could afford on one income.

As the weeks went by, she continued to give everything she had to her family and her work. But she struggled to afford food and pay her bills. She began visiting the mobile food bank once a week, and that provided some relief. But it was not enough to sustain her family over time.

Fortunately, she works for an organization with an emergency financial relief program, a compassionate company that has chosen to invest in the mental and financial well-being of its workforce during times just like these. She applied for relief and was awarded a grant to help cover the cost of her expenses and get her back on her feet.

Walking away from an abusive relationship takes a tremendous amount of courage. This applicant is just one of thousands we help each and every year, and we are honored to work with companies that understand the importance of supporting their workforce during times of personal hardship.

As we close out this year, we are grateful for the opportunity to do work that makes an impact, for individuals in need and the companies they serve. These days, disasters and hardships abound. Emergency financial relief provides a beacon of hope.  

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