Help for Abuse Survivors Who Want to Start a Business
One of the things that made the biggest difference in my life after I left my emotionally abusive relationship was finding a way to start my own business. For many years, I struggled to find something that honored my skills and passions, and every business opportunity I pursued failed. Then, one of the worst things happened in my life: I experienced the trauma of falling in love with someone who would later abuse me.
But I eventually found my way after some serious soul-searching, so I know you can do it too! And there is an organization out there who wants to help you. Based out of Los Angeles, FreeFrom is an organization with programs, courses, and opportunities for abuse survivors to escape financial abuse through starting their own business. They work to create an infrastructure that does several things:
Grows the capacity of the anti-violence movement
Builds tech resources for survivors
Creates peer networks that foster survivors' collective power
Changes existing laws and advocates for the passage of new and survivor-centered laws at the state and federal level
Expands the data and research that exists to support the field
Brings in employers, banks, and other institutes as part of an ecosystem working to support survivors' financial security and safety
It all sounds a bit complicated, but their website breaks down what programs support these initiatives. You can learn more here: https://www.freefrom.org/about.
I think one of the most helpful programs they've started is Gifted by FreeFrom. This is a social enterprise they created that helps survivors of domestic abuse earn a living wage through creating handcrafted self-care products and managing their online store. According to their website, the survivors they employ earn $20/hour, which is a lot better than most entry-level jobs in the United States.
This is their revenue model:
70% of sales go to the survivor entrepreneurs who handcraft the products
15% of sales go to the workers who manage the store, put the boxes together, and ship them
10% of sales go to other survivor entrepreneurs build financial security and safety
5% of sales go to the costs of the eco-friendly packaging
This is a mission that's really close to my heart because I'm always looking for ways to help support other abuse survivors who want to make positive career changes or start successful businesses after they've left an abusive relationship. I'll be talking more about my plans for this in the months to come, but in the meantime, here's what you can do to help other survivors with entrepreneurial dreams:
Purchase a gift for someone from FreeForm or another survivor-run company
Provide emotional support to abuse survivors in your community who are pursuing their dreams
Donate to FreeForm or other non-profit organizations whose mission is to help abuse survivors
Share this post on your timeline! :)
Are you a survivor with a new business you've recently launched? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can talk about doing a spotlight piece or an interview for a future article.