The women at House of Ruth have endured many forms of trauma – one of the least known is financial abuse. From keeping all money matters away from a spouse to hiding income and expenses, financial abuse comes in many forms and is part of the control mechanism that abusers use to further victimize their spouse. That’s why we are so proud to partner with YWCA National Capital Area and City First Bank to enact their Purple Purse Program at many of our houses.
YWCA staff come to our locations, and give a three-week training course that teaches all about checking and savings accounts, retirement, income and expenses—the program covers all things related to finances. “This program is a vital tool for women who have had little opportunity to learn about finances,” said Monica Gray, executive director, YWCA.
“Most people do not understand the challenges of survivors of domestic abuse and often ask ‘why don’t they just leave?’ What most people do not understand is that 90% of victims of domestic abuse are victims of financial abuse – which means that their abuser controls most or all of their access to money and they therefore do not have the resources to leave,” Gray continued. “The Purple Purse curriculum is designed to help victims recover from financial abuse or prevent it all together.”
At the end of the course, YWCA uses grant money to seed savings accounts for each woman at City First. “Assisting YWCA, House of Ruth and other organizations allows us to enhance our mission, which is to help revitalize the community and give back,” said Charlene Davis, Vice President, Branch Relationship Manager, City First Bank. One recent attendee from House of Ruth mentioned that she had never understood, or trusted, banks, and that this course was life-changing.
“The Purple Purse Program is part of the many wrap-around services we offer survivors of homelessness and domestic abuse living at House of Ruth,” said Executive Director Sandra Jackson. “Education like this is key to getting women back on their feet.”