One day, while flipping channels, I ran across one of those talk shows in which the show’s premise seemed harmless enough. The host was acting as a type of intermediary with family members who were challenging each other’s spending habits. One family was a married couple, in which the husband felt his wife was an overly indulgent spender, while the wife insisted that the husband was just miserly.
To garner which side of the couple was giving the more factual viewpoint, the show’s film crew followed them on a shopping trip, in which the wife attempted to purchase clothes and for their toddler-aged daughter. Everything the wife tried to pick up and considered purchasing for their daughter was met with a profanity-laden mini-rant over the price of children’s clothing, from the husband. His language had to be “bleeped” during that recorded segment.
After showing/watching the footage, the show switched back to the in-studio section, as the host began to ask the wife about her husband’s behavior. The host, acknowledging that the husband’s foul language and visible, public agitation at his wife was rather intense, said, “Why do you put up with that?” The wife, with her head down, tearfully croaked out, “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
Something changed in the atmosphere when the wife uttered those words and my heart broke for her. In that instant, I saw this episode as less about spending and more about control. As mentioned in previous Safe Church Network Blogs, domestic abuse is not always just physical. Nowhere on that particular talk show episode was there the mention of domestic abuse. Yet, something was definitely broken in that wife, not just in her voice and in her body language, but also in her spirit. There was an indication of financial abuse.
Recently, I was pleased to hear of Purple Purse (purplepurse.com). Purple Purse is “…an initiative of The Allstate Foundation to financially empower domestic violence survivors.” Purple Purse not only talks about domestic abuse, but it also recognizes how financially crippling it can be to those who are trying to escape from an abusive relationship.
So, what do we have in our churches to combat this same issue? Are monies and resources from benevolent offerings and other assets set aside to help those who feel that they “…don’t have anywhere else to go”? What are some safe and effective church policies for people trapped in such environments?
From purplepurse.com: “Most people think only of physical abuse when they consider domestic violence, yet financial abuse happens in 98% of all cases of domestic violence. Domestic violence and financial abuse often go hand-in-hand, but nearly 8 in 10 Americans have not heard about financial abuse as a form of domestic violence. The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free.”