Senate bill would protect domestic violence victims from financial abuse

Senate bill would protect domestic violence victims from financial abuse

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - “Everything was like a fairy tale,” said June Meeks, a domestic violence survivor. “I was the princess, he treated me like a princess and bought me flowers all the time.”

Meeks said it only took two months for her ex husband to have an affair and soon after that things took a toll.

“He had mental issues also, not being medicated made him make large purchases,” said Meeks.

It didn’t take Meeks a long time to realize her relationship was not healthy.

"If this was a first time for me it probably would have crushed me, but I've had strength from previous experiences to try to manage myself to get through it," said Meeks.

Even though this relationship is now in the past, one thing that continues to haunt her is her credit score after she claims her ex husband took control of her finances.

"He put me on a business loan of $200,000 and that has followed me around," said Meeks.

Since they got a divorce in 2016, that loan continues to follow her around.

The Executive Director for First Step, Debra Dyason said financial abuse within domestic violence survivors is nothing new.

"At least a third of victims of domestic violence report some sort of economic abuse, but what we know from the national hot line statistics, 93 percent of them say that is the main reason that they're not able to leave the abusive relationships, because of financial abuse," said Dyason.

That is why State Sen. Judith Zaffirini hopes to change this nationwide problem through Senate Bill 269.

Her senate bill filed in December aims to make threatening someone into taking on debt a felony on par with identity theft.

"It does affect you with your jobs it affects you with credit cards," said Meeks

For now, Meek continues to work on her credit score.

“I wish this bill was already enacted when I went through my last divorce,” said Meek.

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