From The Grio /  By Ash’Cash— Fact: Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to woman between the ages of 15 and 44. According to theFBI, one woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. If we drill down a little deeper that equates to more than 3 million women per year. Due to this devastating public health crisis, October has been declared National Domestic Violence Awareness month. This initiative has been set forth to give victims currently in an abusive relationship and victims who have left abusive relationships an outlet to receive assistance.

Another alarming fact is that battered women who don’t have financial freedom are more likely to continue to experience abuse especially those who have children. Because of the control the abuser has on the finances, the victim feels helpless and develops a fear of poverty and becomes afraid of greatly lowering their standard of living. There is never an excuse to accept abuse. Whether its physical or emotional everyone has the right to live a life free from fear.

Increasing your financial knowledge and taking steps towards financial freedom will give you the confidence to say enough is enough. The following are five steps that can be taken to gain financial freedom and break free from emotional and physical duress:

1) Keep your records safe

First and foremost you want to make sure that you keep your financial records and other important documents safe.These documents include your birth certificate, passport, social security card, credit card information, insurance policy info; etc. You can secure these documents in a easily accessible place like your garage, the trunk of your car , or with a close friend. Another good suggestion would be in a bank safe deposit box (which usually cost about $30 per month). It also advisable to set up a P.O. Box to secure all of your important mail from your abuser.

This is essential to preventing identity theft which most abusers use to control their victims. Its also vital because when its time for you to leave you need to have access to these docs in order to regain control of your life.

2) Know where you stand financially

Whether you are in an abusive relationship or not it is very important that you know where you stand financially. Knowing the main source of income, bank account balances, real property owned, and debts owed gives you a better indication of how you will live once you leave your abuser as well as a realistic view of what your options are.

3) Start building a financial safety net

Once you have a good idea of what your financial picture looks like you are now in a better position to really plan your exit. You know what assets and liabilities you are dealing with and can begin envisioning how your life will be on your own. Begin with estimating your income and expenses. Figure out if what you make right now will allow you to maintain the basics. Whether it does or not you also need to begin some sort of savings plan to create an emergency fund. Keep your money safe! Again using a banks safe deposit box may be the best solution.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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