This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Becky Lee, who founded Becky’s Fund, which is a local non-profit that not only promotes awareness of domestic violence, but also seeks to prevent it through education seminars and outreach programs. I could not agree more with her that a huge problem we have today is that there isn’t a good understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like. What we see on tv is not real, and educators as well as parents need to make more of a concerted effort to teach children good relationship/life skills.
The fact is one in four women will experience some sort of abusive episode with a partner. Whether it is verbal or physical abuse, no one should have to live this way, and yet, unfortunately many people don’t realize what a vulnerable position they are in until things are really bad.
Over the years, I have seen so many people fall into an incredibly dependent position. By allowing one person to control all the money and not having any of your own credit cards or bank accounts, you are leaving yourself in a very precarious situation if things go awry. How will you ever be able to survive on your own in case of an emergency? When one person holds all of the economic power in a relationship, the other one is left in a very weak bargaining position. No one should ever let him/herself get to this point. The best place to be is always being in a secure enough place where you can either walk away or tell the other party s/he needs to leave if s%*t really hits the fan.
My goal is obviously to have people work through issues, and I understand that intimate relationships are always complicated. Both partners will have to give and take at different times, and ideally a couple will be able to master the art of skillful negotations and reaching compromise. But it is an art that not everyone can master, and when things get nasty, you need to be able to have an escape plan. How can you exit safely when you don’t have any of your own resources? Luckily, there are some great shelters and advocates that can help a person get to a safe location. But instead of being in a reactive position, it is so much better to be proactive. Always strive to maintain enough independance through your own education and economic resources to be able to say “hit the road Jack!”
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.