Thursday, February 9, 2012


At the shelter this week, I talked with a young mom during supper. She’s had it tough—escaping a violent home, bringing one child to the shelter while having to leave her other kids with a relative.

She was exhausted. Had looked at apartments all day. Was worried the one she liked best she’d never get because of credit problems. And because the landlord said he was interviewing more people.

Then her cell rang. Her face lighted up. The landlord said she could have the apartment! She was suddenly beautiful. Eyes shining, big smile, excited.

 A child distracted me for a couple minutes. When I looked back at her, she was off the phone. Frowning, shoulders slumped, tears in her eyes. “He wants a security deposit. I don’t have it. It was hard enough to save for the first and last month’s rent. I lost the apartment.”

 What could I say? The poor have fewer options than others, period. And women who leave batterers to stay in a shelter are poor, no matter what their financial status as wife or partner before they left.

Often their partners take their paychecks or don’t let them work. Battering ruins self-esteem so they may not think they can work and manage his excessive demands. This makes it almost impossible to save for an apartment. And it adds to their loss of basic rights and chronic humiliation.

Makes me mad.

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