Purim is the holiday full of noisy celebration, a time when we dress in masks and costumes. At SHALVA, we see clients who wear a mask, hiding their abusive relationships. They may be embarrassed or ashamed about the abuse, wondering how this could happen to them. Or they may not understand or be in denial that the problems with their intimate partner are really domestic abuse.
Sue wears the mask of a strong and confident business woman in public. At home, however, her husband of 20 years undermines her confidence by keeping her financially dependent on him. He, alone, makes all financial decisions. Sue receives a fixed allowance and is subject to harsh limits on credit cards. Her husband allocates plenty of money for his own needs.
Sue is experiencing financial abuse. A financially abusive partner may:
Supporting SHALVA has been important to Brenda since she made her first gift in 2005. “SHALVA puts its arms around women in abusive relationships by providing essential support they may feel too ashamed to ask for from someone they know. I’m proud to be part of that hug.”
Brenda is a founding partner of Feis Goldy LLC, a boutique employment law firm dedicated to advising, negotiating and litigating claims on behalf of individual employees, managers and executives. She also serves on the National EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, she is dedicated to the community. She is a trustee for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and founded the STEM Camp Scholarship Foundation and Lecture Series at University of Chicago Charter School to encourage female students who are interested in science and math.
We are at a crucial moment in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence. The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was first enacted in 1994 to support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and included funding for social service programs that support survivors. VAWA has been renewed and expanded about every five years since that time, until now.
There is newly introduced legislation to reauthorize VAWA funding and provide important protections for survivors. In addition, the bill will improve sexual assault and domestic violence prevention programming and ensure victims and survivors have access to safety and justice.
VAWA has been incredibly successful, but there is still work to be done to ensure that all survivors are fully supported and have options to keep themselves and their children safe.