The physical and emotional consequences of intimate violence are well-documented, but have you ever considered the effects of the abuse on the survivor’s job history or career? The CDC reports victims of severe intimate partner violence in the United States lose nearly 8 million days of paid work. This is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity each year.

What does this mean to Kentucky survivors of abuse?

A really difficult time re-entering the workforce. We often hear stories about an abuser sabotaging their partner’s job or forbidding their partner to work at all. Stalking and harassing the victim at work is common. And if the violence does not spill over to the workplace, in many cases the victim has little to no access to the money s/he has earned. When a survivor leaves or seeks help to leave, these abuse tactics are often complicated by other common financial violence such as credit fraud and identify theft.

This is why we are so thankful for Grow Appalachia’s support of our farm stipend program.

The program offers the chance for survivors to work on the farm a few hours each week in exchange for a small stipend. Survivors self-determine interest in the program and participation is never a requirement for safe shelter or supportive services. Rather, the stipend program is a chance for survivors with an interest in nature and farming to work in the sunshine, breathe the fresh air, and experience meaningful work in a supportive environment.

The experiences that happen each and every day at the workplace matter. Little things like having a reason to get ready in the morning and positive social interactions throughout the day. Big things like being part of a team and the fulfillment of reaching a goal.

Survivors participating in our farm stipend program are having these experiences while establishing recent work experience for their resume and developing new agricultural skills that will open possibilities for new job placement. And there’s nothing better than sitting down to a dinner made with tomatoes and herbs that you planted, harvested, and prepared.

That’s meaningful work, indeed.