During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Santander Bank (Santander) joins leading domestic violence organizations for a new initiative that aims to build respect through understanding for survivors – many of whom face financial challenges that make leaving abusive situations more difficult. In partnership with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Santander brings to life the financial abuse survivors often encounter through an immersive experience open to the public in New York City. The program also features a micro-lending program for survivors that includes credit-building opportunities as well as access to financial literacy resources.
A recent study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that financial manipulation occurs in 99 percent of domestic violence situations, yet it’s one of the most misunderstood reasons why survivors remain in abusive situations because the effects are not immediately visible. Financial abuse includes withholding money, engaging in acts that impact a partner’s credit score negatively, hiding assets that allow independence and sometimes results in homelessness.
“Santander’s ‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’ campaign aims to shine a light on issues and people who don’t always receive respect, and we invite the public to ‘walk in the shoes’ of others,” said Maria Veltre, Santander’s Chief Marketing Officer and US Head of Digital, Innovation and Payment Strategy. “Santander believes that all people deserve respect and starting this month we are committed to promoting financial independence for those affected by domestic violence.” Veltre continued, “We are honored to partner with NCADV and NNEDV in a joint effort to drive awareness around financial abuse and help domestic violence survivors regain independence through tools and resources.”
An Immersive, Interactive Experience in New York City
“In Someone Else’s Shoes,” presented by Santander Bank, is an interactive exhibit that spotlights the financial hardships of an abusive home. The stand-alone house built in partnership with domestic violence and financial abuse experts, gives guests a glimpse into systemic and structural factors that enable a domestic violence situation and make it difficult to escape.
The immersive experience reflects the layers and complications of domestic violence circumstances through first-hand audio, location-specific sound effects grounding guests in the societal and historical context of the issue. This 12-minute journey is intended to help visitors understand why it’s difficult – and sometimes impossible – for those affected by domestic violence to “just leave.”
“In Someone Else’s Shoes” is free and open to the public October 3 and October 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Oculus in Manhattan’s Financial District, located at 33-69 Vesey St., World Trade Center, New York City, NY 10003. Recommended for ages 16 and older.
Credit-Building Micro-Lending Program with NNEDV
In a commitment to serve domestic violence survivors and improve their credit scores, Santander Bank is donating $200,000 through 2020 to The Independence Project, NNEDV’s micro-lending program. The program allows applicants access to $100 loans for the sole purpose of credit-building and repair.
“As a leading voice for victims of domestic violence and their advocates, we at the National Network to End Domestic Violence have seen firsthand how important rebuilding credit is in establishing financial independence,” said Latifa Lyles, Vice President of External Relations at NNEDV. “We are grateful for Santander Bank’s contribution to our Independence Project. Thank you for joining with us to foster a culture of respect that includes survivors of domestic violence.”
Online Financial Literacy Effort with NCADV
Santander Bank is introducing an online financial literacy program in partnership with the NCADV, which assists those facing financial struggles caused by domestic violence through webinars and continued education.
“Those affected by domestic violence may make several attempts to leave the abuse but may have no other options than to stay or return due to economic barriers,” said Ruth Glenn, President and CEO of the NCADV. “With financial education, individuals have a better understanding of their rights and access to money and the financial resources that exist. We are pleased to join Santander Bank in this important effort to help domestic violence survivors.”
Santander Bank continues its commitment to building respect in its communities through various initiatives, including financial education seminars, charitable contributions, support of higher education and more. Information will be distributed through Everfi, a platform used to leverage scalable technology to build innovative, impactful education networks that empower people and transform communities, at www.insomeoneelsesshoes.com. For additional information on Santander’s “In Someone Else’s Shoes” program, please visit SantanderBank.com, http://www.ncadv.org/ and https://nnedv.org/.