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Helping My Sister

Question:

My sister has been having a very hard time with her husband…he has been verbally abusing her for years now. They have 3 children and she desperately wants to leave him, but she is afraid financially. I keep informing her that there have to be programs out there designed for woman in similar situations…but I don’t know really where to look. I love my sister and I want to do anything I can to help her. I offered her to live with me and my husband but we live in a small condo and there is no way we could all fit. If you can give me any advice to help her it would be greatly appreciated!

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

If I had a dollar for every woman out there who is afraid to leave an abusive marriage on financial grounds, I’d be a millionaire. Most communities have a battered women’s shelter of some sort. I’d suggest you start by contacting the one nearest to your sister’s community and asking their advice. In the meantime, if your sister wants your help, you can help her make a plan for how to support herself financially should she decide to leave her husband. So long as she and the children are not in imminent danger of sexual or physical harm, there is no need for true urgency in leaving. Maybe your sister can look for a job, or go back to school so as to improve her job prospects. Maybe you can help her with child care as she pursues this educational agenda. Maybe you can help teach her about how to stand up for herself and to be more assertive (there are books in the library and available inexpensively online – ‘Your perfect right’ is a good one).

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