ALTHOUGH women in Spain are better protected against domestic violence by recent laws than they were in the past, it is still difficult for abused women to find financial independence. Catalina, who has been looking for work for the last 18 months, complained that companies and employers look the other way when victims of domestic abuse apply for a job and regard them as a liability.
Even if they find employment it can be easily lost, as Catalina discovered after her husband ignored a restraining order and confronted her at the supermarket where she worked.
Police were called after he threatened to kill her and the next day she was sacked from her job. “Not one word, not one motive – they didn’t give me any explanation, she recalled.
All Catalina’s subsequent applications for work were turned down when her last employers, the supermarket, explained that Catalina had not completed the trial period.
Although the situation is unlikely to change overnight, there are now associations that support abused women by helping them find work or setting up their own businesses.
Since 2008 the Ana Bella Foundation has found work for 78 victims of domestic violence through its company, Servicios Integrales Solidarios.
“Companies see you as a problem,” lamented the president, Ana Bella Estevez, who herself suffered ill-treatment from a partner for 11 years.
“Companies should instead take advantage of these women’s talents, particularly during times of crisis,” she said.
“They are very strong and it’s essential to turn all the energy they have consumed on resisting violence into something positive.”