Why Shine Exists

By Jennifer Tan

In the past minute alone, 20-people around us have been physically abused by an intimate partner.1

And almost all (98 percent) of these cases have involved some form of financial abuse, in which the abuser may restrict, control, limit, or gain access to a survivor’s financial resources.2

Just as disturbing is the fact that seven out of eight survivors who leave their abusers will return, largely due to financial pressures.3

This is unacceptable.  And, we have made it our mission to change this.

The Shine Foundation (“Shine”) financially educates survivors who’ve become homeless from leaving their abusive situations.  In doing so, we strive to give survivors a fighting chance at leaving the abuse, for good.  To that end, our approach is simple: we believe in meeting our clients where they are, emotionally, physically and financially, all while trying to make financial learning fun.

That said, pursuing this mission has been a journey, filled with its ups and downs.

There have been moments when I’ve been overjoyed by what we do, especially by our clients’ progress.  When I first met “Amy,” for instance, she doubted her ability to manage her money well.  Her abuser had controlled her savings for so long that the idea of managing money made her anxious.  On top of that, she was in such a transient state, having just moved into the emergency shelter, that she couldn’t even think about the next day.  After a few weeks of working with us, she soon learned how to budget her short- and longer-term spending, as well as confidently verbalize her needs and wants.  Seeing her smile at her own progress in the end made her accomplishments all the more endearing.

As motivating as Amy’s example was, there have also been moments that have simply broken my heart.  When I’ve heard a client crying in her room because she had to face her abuser in court that day.  Or, when I’ve seen a client unconsciously repeating elements of the verbal abuse she had endured.  Or, when I’ve returned to a shelter, only to find out that my client, who had so much energy and life in her, had returned to her abuser.  In these raw moments, you can’t help but question yourself and whether you could have done more.

Yet, these stories – both the ups and downs – are why I continue, and why Shine exists.

We exist to challenge the norm where abuse persists through financial education; and, in doing so, strive to build the future we desire, one in which survivors do not return to their abusers and where abuse is prevented.

But, we cannot do this work alone.

Hence, we created this online community to connect with you – fellow survivors, advocates, leaders and organizations – to join us in our fight against abuse.  The journey to ending abuse will not be easy, but together, we can create an alternate, positive future for survivors.

Welcome to our community, and looking forward to hearing from you!

 

1NCADV (2016). Retrieved from: http://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics.
2The Huffington Post (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html.
3US News & World Report (2011). Retrieved from: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2011/04/26/how-to-stop-domestic-financial-abuse

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