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MI NOW: Women Need Financial Freedom from Abuse

July 6, 2009

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan's economic woes are making it even harder for women suffering domestic abuse to escape from their situations. Recent research from the Allstate Foundation indicates that 70 percent of Americans know people who are, or have been, victims of domestic violence. However, by nearly the same percentage, Americans fail to see a connection between domestic violence and economic abuse.

Renee Beeker, president of the Michigan National Organization for Women, says a reason for the disconnect could be that financial education for women has been sorely lacking.

"They must learn and understand about finances and also learn how to be self-sufficient."

She says the souring economy in Michigan has led to more stress on families and created an even bigger financial obstacle for women trying to get out of abusive situations, and to get the education and protections they need to live freely and safely.

Beeker says the economic abuse happens in concert with a number of other indignities the abuser uses to keep the partner trapped.

"If you have somebody who is economically abusing the woman, I guarantee you they're doing other things. They're either intimidating them or hitting them."

Beeker says in many cases, the Family Courts in Michigan don't help either, because they mandate that women with children stay within a 100-mile radius of the partner - the abuser. She adds it's important that women being abused in any manner leave the relationship and seek help from an organization that offers shelter along with legal and financial counseling.

Help from the Allstate Foundation can be found at www.clicktoempower.org

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - MI