Labor Day for the Abused Woman

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Most women who work outside the home have Labor Day as a paid holiday. If you are a mother, whether you work outside the home or not, you never really get a day off from work to rest, as you are the primary caretaker of the children.

Being in a relationship with, or married to, an abuser means that you are subjected to unreasonable demands and get little or no help from your partner. He criticizes, demeans, and humiliates you as well.

Labor Day, a creation of the labor movement, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Labor unions, which had grown more prominent during the height of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, organized strikes and rallies to protest unsafe working conditions and renegotiate pay and hours.  

At that time in our history, the average American worked twelve hours a day for seven days a week to earn enough money to pay for basic living expenses. In some states, young children toiled in mills, factories, and mines, earning a fraction of the adult wage. The “workingmen’s holiday” was first passed in the state of Oregon in 1887. In 1894, Congress passed legislation that made the first Monday in September a national legal holiday. 

Celebrated with parades, athletic events, picnics, and barbeques, Labor Day gives credit for our country's high standard of living, strong work ethic, ingenuity, and productivity belonging to the American worker. It is fitting that we pay tribute on this day to our ideals of free enterprise, democracy, fair protections in the workplace, and to honor all those who have created so much of the nation’s prosperity.

Helpful Resources to Achieve Your Own Free Enterprise and Fair Protection:

Know your benefits. If you do not have a job and can’t get one, visit your state’s unemployment benefits website for resources or to apply for benefits.

Get the (free) support you need. If you are having trouble feeding your children or need clothes, contact your local Salvation Army and Food Bank. They can help you with getting on a food assistance program. The Salvation Army also provides skill set evaluations, educational and skill supplementation, interview and job placement assistance. Head Start and many local churches offer child care services. Contact the Social Services Department in your area to find out what is available.

Ask for help. Do not be embarrassed about asking for help. These services are available to families in need for a reason. Once you get on your feet, pay it forward by giving back to your community. But you can’t do that unless and until you become self-sufficient. There is no reason to suffer without food, clothes, or shelter in a country as wealthy as the United States.

Educate yourself. If you are not in immediate danger, check online for help in getting a job, acquiring job skills, or taking college courses at your local community college while you are preparing to get out. Having a sense of independence will help improve your self-esteem, and your efforts to become independent will provide a good example for your children.

Protect yourself, and your family, financially. Before you separate from your husband, set up a bank account in your name alone. Have the statements from this bank account sent to a post office box instead of to your home address. If you can do so, remove half of the jointly held funds and placed them in your personal account for safe keeping,to prevent your husband from draining the accounts and leaving you without any funds to pay bills. Do not drain the joint account yourself, however, and leave your husband without funds, as that would be unethical. 

Tell your lawyer. Disclose what you have done with the money in your first meeting with your lawyer. Attorneys have a difference of opinion as to whether a woman should move funds to her private account before she files for divorce. In my opinion, an abusive situation warrants taking this step. An abuser will do whatever it takes to be punitive and maintain control, and that means that it is highly likely that he will drain the household accounts as soon as he is aware that his wife plans to divorce him. Although your attorney can ask the judge in your case to issue a temporary order to freeze your jointly held bank accounts, such measures taketime.

Take back control. You need to have funds for your day-to-day living expenses and to pay your attorney and court expenses in the meantime. Your husband will likely use delaying tactics and may even take you back to court frequently, as mine did. If you have no access to funds, you may be forced to drop your divorce action or to accept an unfair settlement. 

Know your are not alone. There are many good people who want to help support you through this difficult time if you will reach out to them. Ask for help. You are not alone. 


Breaking Bonds is dedicated to your specific needs as an abused woman, and we offer free holistic support as well as practical guidance to help you through this difficult time. Download the free 11 STEP PREP Guide here to get started, and check out our full list of resources for complete support during the process of your divorce. We are with you.

C.C. Webster