Real Money, Real Experts

Recognizing the Issue of Intimate Partner Violence with Sonya Passi

October 27, 2020 AFCPE® Season 1 Episode 12
Real Money, Real Experts
Recognizing the Issue of Intimate Partner Violence with Sonya Passi
Chapters
Real Money, Real Experts
Recognizing the Issue of Intimate Partner Violence with Sonya Passi
Oct 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
AFCPE®

This week, Real Money, Real Experts welcomes Sonya Passi, Founder and CEO of FreeFrom, focusing on financial security and freedom for survivors of gender-based violence.

Co-hosts Rebecca Wiggins and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson talk to Sonya about the intricacies of gender-based and intimate partner violence, and how that impacts survivor's financial well-being.

*Show Notes*
00:45 Intro Sonya
03:54 Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence
08:19 What Violence and Survivors Look Like
11:04 Impact of COVID
15:14 Violence & Finances
17:06 About FreeFrom
23:05 What Employers Can Do
29:38 How Financial Coaches Can Confront Violence
36:26 Your Two Cents
39:07 Symposium

Show Notes:

FreeFrom: https://www.freefrom.org/

FreeFrom Safety Fund Report: https://bit.ly/Survivors-Know-Best



Show Notes Transcript

This week, Real Money, Real Experts welcomes Sonya Passi, Founder and CEO of FreeFrom, focusing on financial security and freedom for survivors of gender-based violence.

Co-hosts Rebecca Wiggins and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson talk to Sonya about the intricacies of gender-based and intimate partner violence, and how that impacts survivor's financial well-being.

*Show Notes*
00:45 Intro Sonya
03:54 Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence
08:19 What Violence and Survivors Look Like
11:04 Impact of COVID
15:14 Violence & Finances
17:06 About FreeFrom
23:05 What Employers Can Do
29:38 How Financial Coaches Can Confront Violence
36:26 Your Two Cents
39:07 Symposium

Show Notes:

FreeFrom: https://www.freefrom.org/

FreeFrom Safety Fund Report: https://bit.ly/Survivors-Know-Best



Intro:

Welcome to Real Money, Real Experts, a podcast where leading financial counseling and coaching experts share their stories, their challenges, and their advice for helping people manage money in the real world. I'm your host, Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® or AFCPE®. And I'm your cohost, Dr. Mary Bell Carlson. I'm an Accredited Financial Counselor®, or AFC®, and the CEO of Chief Financial Mom. Every episode, we're taking a deep dive into the topic, fix the personal finance professionals care about: helping clients, building community and your professional growth. Welcome everyone to the Real Money, Real Experts podcast. I'm Rebecca. This is Mary. Thanks for taking the time to join us today. On the show we're talking with Sonya Passi. Sonya is the founder and CEO of FreeFrom, a national organization that focuses on financial security and long-term safety with, and for, survivors of gender-based violence. We'll talk with her today about their work to build resources for survivors, change state and federal laws, and create an ecosystem of employers, banks, and other institutions to support survivors' financial security and safety. Sonya has been an anti-violence activist since she was 16 years old. Before founding FreeFrom, she launched the Family Violence Appellate Project while earning her law degree at UC Berkeley. Sonya was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2017 for law and policy, and is an Ashoka Roddenberry DRK and New America CA fellow Sonya. We're so excited to talk with you too .

Sonya Passi:

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

Mary Bell Carlson:

I'm so interested about your background. How did you get into this work?

Sonya Passi:

You know, when I was a teenager, I thought that I wanted to be a human rights lawyer. And so when I was 16, I started Amnesty International group at my high school. I grew up in the UK and in the UK, Amnesty International is kind of like what the ACLU is here. And I started this group and the campaign that year was global violence against women. And so they send you all of these materials and you listen and you learn and you do activism around it. And I remember reading the materials and seeing right upfront one in three women globally will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. And I just remember being so shocked, not that this was true, but this was the first time I was hearing about it. And I think like everyone, I grew up in and around abuse of different kinds, seeing it without having words for it. And without it necessarily being recognized by adults around me. And I so resonated in that moment with this idea that to be safe in your own home is a fundamental human right. And if you don't feel safe in your own home, where can you ever really truly feel safe? And that was really all it took for this kind of fire to be lit in me. And it's been my life's work ever since. And I had the very good fortune of figuring out at a young age, what I , what I wanted to do with this life. And for the next couple of years of high school, I would host intimate partner violence awareness weeks. I then went onto college and created a group that was educating campus and local high school students about intimate partner violence. And then by the time I applied to go to law school, my whole personal statement was about intimate partner violence and the work that I wanted to do to end it.

Mary Bell Carlson:

This is like an astounding figure. Like I, I'm just sitting here thinking about how many people does this affect. You mentioned that most people grow up in some kind of an environment with some kind of violence. Can you give us a proportion of how many people this affects and what some of those statistics are on violence?

Sonya Passi:

So here in the us, one in four women, one in two trans folks will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. And when you're talking about rates like that, you're talking about a systemic problem. We sort of approach intimate partner violence as this thing that happens to other people. This thing that happens behind closed doors, this thing that is the result of bad luck or bad choices, but one in four, one and two, that's a pattern. And it says much more about our society than it does about the individual to experience it.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Kind of building off of that. I mean, I'm interested to know, and you've said before about, you know, believing intimate partner violence is a systemic problem. And can you tell us a little bit more about what you mean by the ways in which we are severely lacking the infrastructure to address it? I mean, I think one of the things that's interesting that you just mentioned to me, it just brings up so much about how it's still so taboo to talk about. And so leaves a lot of people, I think, kind of suffering in silence, but what are some things from like an infrastructure standpoint that you see as being critical to changing those stats?

Sonya Passi:

In this country - and I'll speak specifically to this country, but my suspicion is it's very similar in other parts of the world - we approach intimate partner violence like it's a humanitarian crisis, like it's a natural disaster, like a hurricane or a tornado that came out of nowhere and if we could just provide people with a warm bed and hot food for a couple of, or a couple of weeks, they'll be able to get back on their feet. And all of our responses to intimate partner violence are band-aids , they're crisis responses, whether it's shelters or it's restraining orders or access to public assistance. You know, shelters never ended intimate partner violence. Restraining orders never did nor did access to welfare. These are intended to be emergency measures, not the full gamut of our solutions, but they are. I sort of touched on this earlier, but part of the problem is we're, we're missing how this works. Our understanding of what a survivor is, is someone who is physically assaulted in their home by their partner, you know , left for dead, or really likely to push down the stairs. Something very, very egregious. And then if they make it, they grabbed the keys, they grabbed their kids and they run. And we have this very stereotypical idea of intimate partner violence that happens in minutes and days and weeks. But for survivors that that's not the case at all. And intimate partner, violence happens over months and years and generations. And people will often plan for years before they leave. And a big part of that is the number one reason survivors stay in abusive situations, the number one reason they returned to abusive situations, is they cannot afford to leave. And I go one step further and challenge what I just said is we also assume that the only possible solution that is right, what a good survivor would do is leave. And of course, for so many people leaving is either not an option or it's not what they want to do. They don't believe it's the safest choice for them. They want to figure out a way to make the best of the situation that they're in, but there's no services for you if you don't leave. And so what I see as missing when I talk about building an ecosystem is a continuum of support that survivors have access to before the moment of acute crisis and long after.

Mary Bell Carlson:

I think it's easier for an outsider to sometimes look at a situation and say, you need to leave, right. Or cut this relationship off and move on. I know from personal experience and watching friends in some of these situations, it's not that simple. And you also brought up a point of what the current statistics are, but as you said, this is not a problem that just started recently. I mean, this has been going on decades, centuries. Kind of give us a timeframe of what that's like and what it's like for these survivors, or people caught up in these relationships, what that looks like.

Sonya Passi:

So like you said, there's that sense of why don't you leave? And let's put aside the fact that that kind of judgment is, I mean, the answer to that question is it's none of your business. But let's talk about the structural reasons why somebody might want to leave and not leave. First of all, the CDC estimates that intimate partner violence will cost a female survivor, $104,000, which is more than most people make in a year, two years, three years. And on top of that in 99% of cases of domestic violence, intimate partner violence , economic abuse occurs, and that can look like anything from not being allowed to work to not having access to your own bank accounts, having money stolen from you, having credit cards in your name that you don't even know about that are accumulating debt that is not being paid off and is negatively impacting your credit score on your financial profile. And so when we think about, when we ask the question, why don't survivors just leave? It's important to imagine having six figures in debt, having no job, having no access to cash, potentially having a damaged credit score, which is going to make everything from renting a car to renting a home that much more complicated, not having a fallback system, and having experienced so much psychological and emotional and financial terror that you don't even necessarily trust your own decision-making . And that's what the situation really looks like. This isn't about being weak or not being as bad as you think it is. It's really a structural economic issue. It has economic causes, it has economic consequences. And if we can accurately frame it as such, we will get less caught up in what we take to be choices that survivors are making in the situation that they're in

Mary Bell Carlson:

Sonya. I really think you've framed this well in that this is not just a moment in time. Sometimes as outsiders, we look at other situations and see a snapshot, but really these go on for years, decades, it's generational. It's just been covered up and hidden for so long. Now I know that COVID-19 has also impacted partner violence. Can you tell us how this crisis has enhanced some of the violence that we're seeing?

Sonya Passi:

At the beginning of COVID, FreeFrom actually launched a cash safety fund for survivors. And we were able to get grants of about $250 each to 1300 survivors from 36 states and Puerto Rico. And so through the process of getting cash to survivors, we learned from folks what they were experiencing, how that had gotten worse, and what they needed in this moment. And kind of a couple of the things that folks shared with us were escalating violence as a result of COVID, having fewer financial resources, making it harder to get or stay safe. One person shared with us that their plan was at 2020 would be the year that they got safe. And what they were doing just before COVID was when they harm doer went to work every day - they themselves weren't allowed to work - but when the harm doer went to work every day, they would bake cakes, cupcakes, and go out and sell them. And they were keeping the cash that they made at a friend's house. And then they would come back, clean up. And when their harm doer came home, they were none the wiser. And they had mapped out a plan of how long it was going to take them to save up enough money to get out, and then COVID hit and they shared, you know, it's not going to be 2020, but hopefully it'll be 2021. And that's sort of the point I was making earlier about this not being an impulsive decision that survivors make. Survivors are survivors. They know how to survive, whether that means getting out right now or waiting and waiting and waiting till it's safe. A number of people shared, they experienced escalated financial abuse through things like having a stimulus check stolen from them, or not getting a stimulus check in the first place because of tax fraud committed by their harm doer. And then of course, you know, courts closed when COVID escalated. And so, so many survivors are not getting access to things like child support, which, you know, allows them to have enough income to support their kids. And there's not necessarily a sense of when they will have access to that again. And I think what COVID - COVID really put a spotlight on this issue. We saw many more articles written about it, press coverage about it. I think because as a society, we all got a sense of what it is like to be trapped in your home. And that allowed us to empathize in a new way with what it must be like to always feel trapped in your own home. But what I think COVID laid bare is when the country came to a halt, so did all of our solutions to the problem of intimate partner violence. Shelters closed to protect the house of shelter staff and residents already living there, courts closed. So you couldn't get a restraining order. And that was kind of it, but the little bit of infrastructure we had built up crumbled, and what we see here is a moment to build intricate lasting infrastructure that is actually able to address the problem from all sides from beginning, middle, end, as opposed to these stop gap solutions that we have in place right now.

Mary Bell Carlson:

Yeah. And you've really highlighted for me how much finances are so intimately integrated into these complicated relationships. You just cannot get out of them without some kind of financial help to it. It's a core part of what's going on.

Sonya Passi:

You know, one of the things that survivors shared in this report that we just put out , after the safety fund, after the cash grants that we did was the amount of money that they estimate they need in this moment to stay safe. And, you know, we had 1300 responses, but we started evaluating and analyzing that number from the first 20 responses right up to the 1300. And the average amount of the survivors said they needed throughout that time stayed very consistent between $700 and $800. Ultimately the average that survivors reported they needed to stay safe $730, which is nothing. When you think about the grand scheme of philanthropy, the grand scheme of how much money it costs us to address this issue on a yearly basis. And it also, I think, does a way with this myth that survivors don't know what they need. And I hear that all the time from folks that, you know, while you're expecting people that have experienced so much trauma to know what they need and know how to support themselves and know how to spend the money wisely. That's one that we hear a lot. And of course, folks that got money from us basically spent it on food, household items, and utilities. You know, again, this idea that survivors don't know how to spend the money we won't spend it wisely is done away with. And what it exposes, I think is the reality that we don't trust survivors. You know, we live in a society where to be a victim is vilified. We don't like victims, we feel uncomfortable. And so we project all of that on the people who are experiencing problems that we caused and we sustain.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Well , Sonya , this is, I mean, you're doing such important groundbreaking work at FreeFrom around all of these issues. And I'd love for you to just share more about what your organization actually does so that our network of professionals can really hear about it and potentially even get plugged into your work more. So could you share just a little bit more about what, what you're doing at FreeFrom, for survivors of intimate partner violence?

Sonya Passi:

I think about our work in three pillars. So the first is what I call our Capacity Building work, which is building capacity, both within the intimate partner violence movement, but also within the asset building world to really address the financial causes and consequences of intimate partner violence. So one of our main programs is a training and certification program for folks working in intimate partner violence organizations. One of the things that we forget is of course, people working in the movement are often survivors themselves. They are underpaid, under-resourced and often financially insecure. So when we think about why shelters aren't supporting survivors and building income and repairing their credit and building their savings, oftentimes people working in shelters don't have good credit or a high score or don't have a savings account. And so our work is really to invest in the people working in the movement to support folks in building savings, to support folks in building their financial confidence while training them to do this work with their clients. So that's one piece of our workers is our capacity building. The second is our Innovation Pillar and that is using technology and community resources to support survivors directly. So this year we launched a nationwide peer-to-peer financial support group for survivors that are survivor run, survivor led. We provide resources, but we are not involved in the day-to-day of the meetings. And we see these as opportunities for survivors to set financial goals in community with other survivors, to be a resource for other survivors, and also learn from their peers. We've got groups in , I think, eight states this point, and they're starting to kind of grow and take off. We have our social enterprise, which is an online store, exclusively selling products made by survivors and employing survivors for a living wage of $20 an hour to operate the store, customer service , vendor pickups , taking photographs for the store, shipping, handling, everything. And so it's sort of like the goal, the ultimate goal is to build survivor wealth. And we do that through two ways. First is paying survivor entrepreneurs and then it's paying survivor employees, and providing flexible work that can be fit around that the healing process. And then we have our Systems Change Pillar or Ecosystem Building work, which is to say, okay, well, this is a systemic problem. We're not going to solve it with a group of you know, underfunded, under-resourced intimate partner violence organizations. And there's only so much survivors can do to support themselves without there being community accountability. And to us, that community accountability looks like banks doing their part. It looks like credit card companies doing their part. It looks like city, state, county, federal legislature is doing their part. It looks like health insurance companies, employers. If we think about who has a role to play here, we all do whether we are a community member, whether we're part of a religious organization , we're an employer, there's a role for everyone to play. And so a big part of our work is building that. And so we have our banking guidelines. These are 11 guidelines that we've developed in partnership with survivors that banks can and should adopt to support clients who are experiencing or will experience intimate partner violence. And we have our survivor work safety lab, which is working with employers to do things like implementing a paid leave policy for survivors or implementing emergency cash grants for survivors and other things that can take responsibility for the problem.

Mary Bell Carlson:

Sonya is most of your work focused on gender-based violence?

Sonya Passi:

Here's the thing: you can't really separate intimate partner violence and gender-based violence. I think it's something like 49% of all sexual assaults happen within the context of intimate partner violence. So if you're talking about one, you're never really just talking about one facet of gender based violence, and we work with people who've experienced all kinds of gender-based violence, but I think our expertise is around intimate partner violence. And I think that when you think about the financial abuse, it is often most acute in the context of an intimate partner relationship.

Mary Bell Carlson:

So are most victims in intimate partner violence, are they female?

Sonya Passi:

No, well, I guess most,. There's not a lot of data on trans women, men, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, gender fluid folks. You know, the data doesn't exist because it really hasn't been collected. But what we do know is one in four women and one and two trans folks will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. So it sort of heavily impacts women, but also very acutely impacts , trans folks as well.

Mary Bell Carlson:

Well, and I asked that question because I want to follow up with, what employers can do to support their employees' financial wellness, but I think that we've got to also address the fact that women as a whole are already underpaid as compared to men. Like there's other systemic issues that play into this on top of what we're already seeing in terms of getting jobs and other things. But on top of what we're already seeing with intimate partner violence,

Sonya Passi:

You know, we like to simplify problems and to the detriment of solving the problems. I think you can't understand a person's experience without understanding the intersecting identities that they have. So exactly what you said, there's a gender wealth gap. There's already a gender pay gap. And within that, of course, Black women , Latinx women, Indigenous women are making that much less on the dollar than white women and Asian women. And within that LGBTQ folks are experiencing poverty at much higher rates. And within that, trans folks experience poverty and unemployment at much higher rates. So it's really important to understand all those intersections and how they play into making this problem that much worse. What's really interesting is I mentioned earlier that CDC statistic that intimate partner violence will cost a female survivor $104,000. They they did the math, as well they did the research on how much it costs a male survivor, and they found that it costs a male survivor $23,000, which is significantly less. And you can't read that and ignore the impact that gender inequality plays here. And one of the things that we're setting out to do here at FreeFrom over the course of the next six to nine months is build upon that data. You know, we know the cost for male survivor and we know the costs for a female survivor, and that's about as nuanced as the data gets. But what we don't want to do is replace one kind of set of one size fits all solutions right now that we have - shelters, restraining orders , etc. - with another set of one size fits all solutions that are based around economic support. And instead to really understand what is the economic impact of intimate partner violence along racial and ethnic identities, along gender identities, and sexualities of different kinds. We might learn through this process that you know, employment sabotage impacts Black female survivors more than it does Latinx female survivors, but that credit fraud is a much bigger problem for Latinx survivors, you know, and to really get to that level of nuance of what does this really cost folks of different identities and what is the type of economic abuse in different communities. And I think that that will really give us as a movement, the data that we so need in order to have a thoughtful response to the problem.

Mary Bell Carlson:

I also think this brings up to the employers can support their employees and financial wellness, but I think you bring up a good point. Is it just, can't be this rubber stamp solution that every employee gets X training, right? Or X financial wellness type package. You've really highlighted a point that it needs to be specific based on gender, based on ethnicity, even based on sexual preference to really help those that they're wanting to help, rather than just saying here, I've checked the box and moving on. Is that what you're saying ?

Sonya Passi:

Well, I think that, you know, a lot of employers that we will talk to will say, 'Well, why do we need a gender based violence paid leave when people have sick days and they have vacation days?' And of course, one , you're assuming that they have those days accrued, but two , if you aren't even going to take time off work to flee or to get a rape kit done, or to go to court and deal with litigation abuse, you are neither sick nor are you on vacation. And I think part of taking societal responsibility for the problem, part of understanding that as employers, we are employing people who are experiencing gender-based violence. And we know that just by the levels. Part of saying that we're a diverse and inclusive workplace is to understand these experiences and to trust that your employees will take the time they need and be more productive and more generative employees because you provided that level of trust. That level of flexibility. I can only really speak for us here at FreeFrom, but a couple of things that we have in place for people that experienced gender based violence. And of course, everybody on our team has experienced gender based violence. But when I say that, I mean is in the process of, you know, recovering from or experiences, God forbid, a new incident of violence. We offer 15 days paid leave that you can take whenever you need to deal with any of anything from going to therapy, to dealing with chronic pain, to go into court and so on and so forth. You can take it all at once, you can take it in chunks. We also offer emergency grants to employees. For example, you need to relocate and all of a sudden you've got to put first, last and security deposit down. And we support people with that kind of unexpected cost . And then we offer every employee monthly financial coaching. We'll reimburse employees for monthly financial coaching, understanding that it's not just about providing support in the moment of acute crisis, but also as an ongoing form of support, building up financial security. Building up an understanding of your financial life is directly leading to your employees thriving and having that autonomy in their lives.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Sonya, this is such an important, and we are really looking forward to having your expertise during our virtual Symposium in November. I'm wondering if you can share just a little preview about what you plan to discuss with our audience, of course, financial counselors, coaches, and educators. From your lens, why are these issues so important for them to understand, and in their work with their clients?

Sonya Passi:

In a lot of ways, it comes back to what I said earlier about not thinking about this as a problem that exists over there, and really understanding that as a financial coach, you're working with people who are experiencing, will experience, have experienced intimate partner violence, and to know how you can support someone through that situation is critical. Like , so often the reason that we ignore the problem is we all feel so woefully unprepared on how to handle it. What is the right thing to say? What is the most sensitive thing to say, how do I not appear like I'm judging this person in this moment? And I'm hoping that we can have a conversation about what that looks like as a financial coach, and what role you have to play as a financial coach. And everything from how to spot things that are happening that amount to economic abuse, to really reframing our preconceived notion that survivors are financially devastated. And instead thinking about clients who experience this problem as having the potential to thrive, and you as coaches as having the potential to support them in that process. You know , I had a call with a bank recently, and we talked about the idea of them providing emergency loans, zero percent interest emergency loans to survivors. And their immediate response was to say, 'Well, these would be extremely risky loans." And they're not wrong. Anything that we were to start at this point would be, you know, working with survivors at that moment of acute crisis. They may be experiencing homelessness, they may be living in a shelter for several months. And so alone that point where they don't have access to income would be risky. But I want to , I want us as a society to get to a point where we don't wait until that moment of acute crisis to step in and do our part so that we're not only working with people when the financial impact has been so compounded. And I think that financial coaches have such a critical and vital role, to play in that shift. And so I'm really excited to have that conversation with folks and see what questions they have , and get people ultimately the resources that they need to feel confident about this issue in their practice.

Mary Bell Carlson:

You know Sonya as a financial planner and financial coach, I think sometimes in these discussions, when you have, let's say a husband and a wife together that are going through an experience, or even talking to a financial planner coach, sometimes it becomes a very male dominated situation where the spouse doesn't really get an opportunity to communicate and, or even us as financial coaches or counselors, we go to maybe that alpha spouse who is leading the discussion and we leave out those opportunities to really have that conversation with the other spouse. What would you say to those of us that really need to not just balance the conversation, but also some of the signs that we would look for, and how would we handle a situation if we did assume or think there might be abuse in that relationship?

Sonya Passi:

I think it comes down to having training. And I really say that with a lot of empathy that you, as a financial coach, a financial planner are operating within the patriarchy that you were born into. You know, so it's not that you developed these biases in your practice. You had these biases before you became a coach. We all, did. We all noticed the restaurant staff that looked to the man to order when there's a man and a woman at the table, you know, like that's permeates every part of our society. And so to really get the training - just like we all have to go through bias training to undo those biases - it's sort of the same with economic abuse. One of the things that we're working with banks to do right now is to train their bank tellers, to know how to spot economic abuse when it's happening right in front of you. We talked to a survivor a couple of months ago, whose mother wanted to give her money for a medical procedure that she was about to go through. And she went with her harm doer, who was her husband , to the bank to open an account so that her mother could put this money in and they explained this story to the bank teller. And then the husband said, 'Under no circumstances is my wife allowed to have access to this account.' And so despite knowing that this money was for the wife, that it was coming from the wife's mother, the bank teller opened an account, a solo account in the husband's name. And that's the kind of thing where if you are on alert for that, if you know, have the language and the vernacular and the understanding of these kinds of dynamics already in your head, you can pause and say, 'If money is coming in for this customer, then we have to open this as a joint account.' Or 'I'd like to pause for a second here and bring in my manager.' There's so many things that you can do to just divert the situation for a minute and make it clear that that kind of behavior is not going to fly here. And so too , as a financial planner, a financial coach, I really have a lot of respect for our accountant, who, even though I am the person that handles the finances in my relationship all, and sometimes I forget to include my wife on the emails. My accountant will always add my wife back in, and I know exactly what she's doing, and I so commend her for it because it's so easy to just talk to the person who appears to be in charge here, but they're not the only person with their name on the account. And they're not your only client more often than not.

Mary Bell Carlson:

I so appreciate your thoughts on this.

Rebecca Wiggins:

So Sonya, at the end of each interview, we like to get the guests two cents or the biggest takeaways for our listeners. If you had just one piece of advice to offer our financial professionals, what would it be?

Sonya Passi:

I think it would really be to sit with this idea that intimate partner violence is happening in your communities, your friend groups, your coworkers, your peers, your family, your extended family. And to really just let that sink in because we have to operate from there for us to feel any need to act, any need to take responsibility here, or to do our part. And I think why we've quite frankly, let ourselves get away with ignoring the problem for so long, is because we were taught and we believed that it's none of our business and we were taught and we believe that it's happening over there and not over here. And if we can just reframe the lens, it creates space for what happens next.

Mary Bell Carlson:

Sonya, this has been an incredible interview. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. And we really look forward to having you at our symposium in November to share more with us. Thank you.

Sonya Passi:

Thank you. I so appreciate it. It was a joy to talk to you both.

Mary Bell Carlson:

After listening to Sonya, I realized I need so much more information to be really more aware of the issues of intimate partner violence. I was amazed at how we as financial coaches and counselors could really be the tipping point for some of these victims and quite possibly a way out of these abusive relationships that they're in. It's really piqued my curiosity of how I can be more helpful on the front lines of not just bringing awareness to this prevailing issue, but also how I can help those clients sitting right in front of me that may be in this situation.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah, it was such an important discussion today. And it brought up for me just how many layers there are to the issue. Not only just like cultural norms, how we're sort of trained to look at domestic violence, but also the impacts of COVID-19. And then of course, systemic challenges that we talked about today, too, that play into all of this. And I thought she made an excellent point about how our approaches to these issues are so often band-aid solutions. Once people are in crisis and how we really need to start being more aware of how prevalent intimate partner violence is, how we can look for it when we're working with clients. And so I'm just really, really looking forward to hearing more from her at the symposium in November, where I think she's going to get a lot more in-depth about what we can do as a field around this issue. And so I just want to remind everyone, if you haven't already registered for this year's virtual symposium, there is still time. We have more than 50 hours of professional development content, both live and on demand for you that you can choose from. We're going to have networking opportunities and a lot of fun events throughout the week as well. Plus, your registration does include 2021 AFCPE® membership, which comes with a ton of other benefits as well. So please go to AFCPE.org today and register for the symposium. And we're really excited to see you there.

Outro:

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