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Hit Hard by the COVID-19 Recession, Black and Latinx Survivors More Likely to Return to Abusers, Study Finds

Throughout the year, the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and the recession it spurred have disproportionately hurt Black and Latinx communities across the country. A new study from the nonprofit Me Too has found that survivors of sexual violence in these communities have been particularly vulnerable to financial instability caused by the pandemic—thus making them more likely to return to their abusers.

The report, “Measuring the Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Survivors of Color,” documents the specific social and economic impacts Black and Latinx survivors have faced this past year. Released on Wednesday, the study found that financial insecurity was highest among Black women and Latinas, with almost twice as many of these survivors experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 than white women.

“What we found, while sobering, wasn’t shocking,” said Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement. “COVID-19 illuminates the ways in which our social and economic safety net catches some while allowing those who are most vulnerable to fall through the cracks.”

The study is further evidence of how porous America’s social safety net is for its most vulnerable people—with a few thousand dollars marking the difference between being able to live without an abusive partner or having to return to one.

On average, women who reported a high likelihood of returning to their abusers had access to about $3,700, while survivors who said there was no likelihood of reconciling with their abusers had about $8,300 in available funds.

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