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Realities for Those who are Abused and Living in Poverty

By: Chris Handberg, Director of Programs and Research at DVN

Recently, I came across the article “20 Facts About Living in Poverty that Rich People Never Have to Think About.” While the title and premise could be perceived as combative, there were several good pieces of information which intersect with the experiences of those who are abused.

  1. The Search for Affordable Housing

The author notes that affordable housing waiting lists can be a year or more. For those living in Marion County, that sounds like a dream. Currently, there are over 10,000 people on the waiting list to receive subsidized or public housing just in Marion County. For many who experience abuse, this is an obstacle that is not easily overcome. Often, when people are in an abusive relationship, friends and family will say things like, “why don’t you just leave” or “change the locks, kick ‘em out”. While that seems like good advice, not everyone can afford housing and with lengthy wait lists, it can be insurmountable.

  1. Hunger

Several points were made about hunger in the article. Not just the physical act of being hungry, but finding affordable, safe, and healthy food is sometimes impossible. On average, those who qualify for food stamps receive $133 per month or $4.38 per day. For those in this situation, every penny counts and eating becomes the highest priority. When domestic violence intersects with hunger, dealing with the abuse becomes a luxury because one is so focused on figuring out where the next meal will come from in order to stay alive.

  1. Working Longer, Harder Hours than Most

“While it’s popular to think people are poor because they are lazy, many of the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us.” For many who live in poverty, they have multiple jobs to provide for their families. Often a person goes from one job to the next with little sleep while trying to maintain a household, care for children, and do all of the everyday chores of life. This becomes critical when someone experiences abuse, for losing a job can set back the family for months. For those who experience violence and poverty, they often choose not to address violence because they can’t afford to lose wages or work.
What are your thoughts? Intersections, DVN’s community-wide plan is addressing what other factors impact DV victims, making it harder for victims to access services and leave violent partners.  Register for our webinar on May 24th as we explore Domestic Violence in Affluent Communities:  Signs, Myths, and Barriers to Seeking Services.