Santander is driving awareness of financial abuse during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Many victims of domestic abuse face financial challenges that make leaving abusive situations more difficult, which is why Santander Bank is partnering with domestic violence organizations to help shine a light on their struggles.

For National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, is partnering with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to launch the 'In Someone Else's Shoes' campaign.

Together, they will bring to life the financial abuse survivors often encounter through online videos telling people's stories, as well as an immersive live activation open to the public in New York City.

“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.

The feature spot highlights the hidden truths of domestic financial abuse. It starts by showing normal suburban houses, then scrolls over with “The most dangerous place in the world for a woman is her home.”

A voice over of a woman comes on and states, “I know what most people think – if he broke my jaw, I would just leave.” She then states that the problem is more complicated. If she leaves, however, she realizes that she won’t be able to access the bank account because she has nothing with her name on it. Therefore, she is stuck.

The program also features a micro-lending program for survivors that includes credit-building opportunities as well as access to financial literacy resources.

The ‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’ interactive exhibit in New York 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.

“Since the home is the most dangerous place for women, according to a UN study, we created an immersive experience featuring a life-sized house fashioned after a suburban single-family home,” Veltre told The Drum. “The experience depicts different situations of abuse and includes real interviews from domestic violence survivors. We hope our initiative raises awareness about an important cause and inspires people to share their experience, which may help someone get the resources they need to get out of a dangerous situation.”

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.

Veltre said she hopes that the ‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’ experience prompts people to learn more about domestic violence, that through awareness others who need help will find it.

“Abuse comes in many forms – and sometimes it’s invisible to the naked eye, which is the case in financial abuse. Many domestic violence survivors are not getting the respect they deserve, and we wanted to change that by sparking a conversation that creates more awareness of the issue. We hope to educate people about the challenges of leaving an abusive situation, and that’s why we created an immersive experience in a home constructed as a maze. The experience is meant to shine a light on the many barriers to leave.

‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’ is free and open to the public through 7pm today (4 October) at The Oculus in Manhattan’s Financial District.

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.

Santander Bank is also 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.

See more pictures of the live experience and more videos by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

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