Sonya Passi helps domestic violence survivors earn financial stability.
“The number one reason survivors of domestic violence stay in abusive situations is because they cannot afford to leave,” she explained. “No one should have to choose between abuse and homelessness.”
Passi started FreeFrom after learning of the systematic injustice survivors of domestic violence face, like having to saddle the cost of medical bills, property damage, and relocation costs largely on their own. 1 in 4 women in the U.S. experience domestic violence and half of the women in homeless shelters have been abused.
FreeFrom teaches survivors to manage their money and gain financial independence so they can move forward. It provides programs to help women get back on their feet including an online forum to find out if survivors qualify for compensation from abuse. Their credit program helps survivors build or repair credit and their entrepreneurship program helps survivors build small businesses.
“You might not feel comfortable coming to me and telling me your full abuse history, but you might come to me and say, ‘I got this great idea for a business,’ and at that moment, I can meet you exactly where you’re at and we can start to build towards your future instead of focusing on the past,” Passi explained.
She also advocates for public policy that empowers women and survivors. She encourages more women to speak out about their abuse.