There's a special place in most people's heart for those that have fallen on hard times and are having a difficult time making ends meet. Especially if they are single mothers trying to raise children. For a single mom, keeping a roof over her family's head, putting food on the table a couple of times a day, clothing her kids and paying for heat and other essentials is a daily struggle. Most single mothers work outside the home and some also attend classes a few days a week in hopes of a better paying job which in turn means a better existence for her children. The remainder of her time is spent trying to raise responsible kids who have a shot at a successful future. Not having a partner to help support the household financially or in raising children is an enormous burden. Society tends to have compassion for women who find themselves in this kind of extreme hardship and even openly encourage these woman to make it for themselves as well as their children. That is, unless she is a white collar wife.
White collar wives are put into a category all by themselves as the general public takes a kind of morbid pleasure in the fall
from grace of the abruptly impoverished. Because of the undue guilt by association the public lavishes upon them, white collar wives are seemingly exempt from any sympathy. This is quite unfair because not only do white collar wives have to endure the shame and horror of having their husband's secret lives revealed to them, they and their children must also share in the dire consequences of HIS crime both personally as well as publically. Through no fault of her own a white collar wife loses all financial security such as; loss of income; frozen assets/seizure and in many cases the loss of her vehicle and all household possessions. Many white collar wives lose everything but the clothes on theirs and their children's backs. Some end up liable for hundred's of thousands of dollars in taxes on their husband's fraudulent income if returns were filed jointly, which for married couples is usually the case. Ultimately, her partner and the father of her children is hauled off to prison, (sometimes for many, many years), leaving her to provide for and raise her children by herself. The white collar wife who has given up her prime earning years for the sake of her family is essentially suddenly rendered penniless. The shock and awe of this life changing event can cause even the strongest of women to collapse under the sheer weight of this burden.
For most white collar wives, returning to the paid workforce is a long and arduous process as new skills need to be learned and child care must be arranged and paid for. But how can one afford either if there is no income or "assistance" at hand? It's much more difficult than one thinks to gain public assistance for the newly impoverished. Just as one needs a good work history to obtain gainful employment it appears that one must demonstrate a history of poverty in order to obtain government benefits to help sustain a family during times of extreme financial hardship. The majority of white collar wives would rather bite off their own arm than ask for help and the little assistance they receive is hardly worth the miles of paperwork they must file. But like any other single mother trying to care for her children, white collar wives are in no position to turn down any help that comes their way while trying to climb out of the wreckage their lives have become and she should never be judged because of it.
Poverty becomes a way of life for many white collar families in the immediate and sometimes infinite future. So the next time you read about a white collar criminal, (trust me, they're in the news daily), being hauled off to prison, please consider the suffering families and the extreme hardships they are having to endure through no fault of their own. Being poor is hard enough but to have to be ridiculed on top of being poor, frightened, ashamed, heartbroken and mentality as well as physically exhausted is cruel and unusual punishment where there is no just cause. Lend a helping hand if and when you can and please don't judge white collar families harshly as they do not merit anything other than your compassion.
I am a former White Collar Wife writing about my experience of recovery.
- I began blogging on the subject of white collar wives after experiencing the devastating consequences of my, (former), husband's financial crime. My goal was to reach other women who are suffering or have suffered as I did so that they wouldn't have to walk this dark and uncertain path alone. The blog also serves to educate the public regarding the stigma wives and families face as a result of guilt by association. The truth is that wives and children are the FIRST victims of many white collar crimes as a result of the acute breach of trust and ensuing financial ruin that is brought upon them by a man whose primary obligation is to protect his family. As a result of the positive response to my blog essays I created a private on-line support group, The Secret Lives of White Collar Wives. The purpose of the group is to provide a safe and private place of acceptance and empowerment. Our community continues to grow both nationally as well as internationally. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a private screening into the group. (A request made directly to the group page will not be accepted).
In addition to my advocacy work on behalf of white collar wives and families I have developed a lecture on ethics in the workplace. I urge all who are serious about compliance and risk to contact me for a compelling hour of "Truth and Consequences: Easy Money Isn't Easy" from a new voice with a new perspective on enforcement. Humans are vulnerable to many temptations and too often fail to consider the dire consequences one bad decision can have on their and their families lives.