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Economic Security and Domestic Violence
Robin Jackson, Policy and Systems Advocacy Coordinator, MCADV
Domestic and dating violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a common reality that has short and long-term negative effects on survivors’ economic security and independence. Survivors’ economic needs often drive them to stay with abusers longer, leading to increased economic abuse, injuries, and even fatalities. Domestic violence has economic impacts on survivors throughout their lifetimes. Additionally, women living in poverty experience domestic violence at twice the rate of those who do not, which furthers the reciprocal relationship between abuse and economic hardship.
Equal pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half and add approximately $513 billion to the national economy. A survivor may be forced to stay with an abuser due to concerns about economic stability and the impact of the gender wage gap. In a 2012 survey, three out of four victims said they stayed with their abusers longer for economic reasons. Of the 85% of victims who returned to their abusers, a significant number attributed an inability to control and manage their finances.
In 2019, Mississippi women who were full-time wage and salary workers had an average usual weekly earnings of $669, or 80.6% of the $830 average usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts. By the next year, the national pay gap was 82 cents. That’s how much women in the U.S. who work full time, year-round are paid for every dollar paid to men. The pay gap for Black women in Mississippi is even more dire, 56 cents to the dollar. Like all women, survivors of domestic violence (who are predominantly women), would benefit from equal pay initiatives. As long as women make less than men for performing the same work, survivors’ ability to gain financial stability
and independence is hampered. The amount of time that a survivor might need to continue relying on support from an abuser could extend longer than necessary.
Increasing the minimum wage will also better enable survivors, and all women, to build assets to help them and their families meet both daily and long-term needs. A low minimum wage disproportionately affects women because women, especially women of color, are more likely to hold low-wage jobs than men. Low-wage workers are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation (low wages, wage theft, unsafe working conditions, domestic and sexual violence, no opportunities for advancement, etc.). Limited skills, inadequate education, language ability, and immigration status make workers more vulnerable to exploitation and less likely to want to, or to be able to, challenge it for fear of retaliation, including job loss, sexual violence and deportation.
When survivors of domestic violence have stable access to resources that help them build economic resiliency, they and their families are more likely to remain safe and secure. For more information on how you can advocate for Economic Security for domestic violence victims, contact our Policy and Systems Advocacy Coordinator at 601-981-9196.

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