Listening to the radio, hearing yet another story from a war-ravaged country. Another woman, widowed with small children, has turned to prostitution to feed her family.

In all these stories about the costs of war, there’s one question that’s ignored.

Why is there always money for prostitution, but rarely for food?

If you want to see who holds more power, follow the money. Rather, follow who chooses how to spend their money.

I have to admit, I don’t always agree with my mother. OK, that’s an understatement, we often butt heads.  But, when she does make a good point, it is stellar. And one such stellar bit of advice came many, many years ago. I don’t recall the context at all, she was discussing finances (which she rarely did).  Her piece of advice is to all young women (and if you’ve taken one of my self-defense classes, you have heard me say this) is very simple:

Whatever life brings, whatever relationship, marriage, partnership, etc., you  find yourself in, make sure you ALWAYS have a bank account in YOUR NAME ONLY.  And make sure that it contains enough money for you to rent an apartment and cover living expenses for at least a few months.

Nobody plans on entering into an abusive relationship. However, life does not always go according to plan, and for that you have to plan. Are you with me?

If you are trying to leave an abusive partner, you’ll need cash.
One common characteristic of abusers is control of household finances. You will need your own bank account, in your name only, so that the abuser cannot withdraw all funds to leave you high and dry. And it is a LOT easier if you have your cache before committing to any relationship, since once you’re in you don’t know how easily you’ll be able to accumulate necessary funds.

I’ve taught self-defense classes in homeless day shelters and in transitional housing facilities. I’ve met women who lost everything — and became homeless — because they had to leave their partner but had no funds. There are many, many more women who do not leave their abusers because they are even more afraid of living on the streets.

So take charge of your own destiny, and have some cash cached away. Because, without cold cash, it really sucks to find yourself between an abuser and the cold streets.