Kalyn Risker is the single mother of two girls, the founder and director of the non-profit SAFE, a position for which she accepts no salary, a master’s student in Human Resources Administration at Central Michigan University, and a sought-after public speaker on domestic violence and enonomic self-sufficiency, so she is one busy woman. Her journey began one day in 1998, when her ex-boyfriend hammered her about the face, breaking an eye socket and forcing her to have reconstructive surgery. Money was tight, but her doctor refused to sign a form allowing her to return to work. Risker took a job with another company, and harbored an interest in human resources. She found a scholarship available for women who were domestic violence survivors and obtained her BA.
Once she had her degree she moved up to a human resources position at an HMO. Over the course of her employment she met other women who had abusive partners. She also noticed, at the HMO, that many applications for employment she received were incomplete, that resumes were deficient, and that many applicants didn’t interview well. Her experiences gave her the insight that domestic violence had an economic component, with abusers often controlling the household finances so the victims could not afford things they needed, and were bound to their abusing partner. She had also learned that many women were not prepared to enter the workforce and thus achieve fiscal independence from their abusers. Risker founded SAFE in 2006 as a resource to give women the skills to apply for employment, step up to a better job, learn how to manage their money, all the skills they need to break the cycle of economic abuse.