In keeping with the International Day of Violence against Women.
Financial Abuse – The Assistant of Domestic Violence
By Yvonne Sam
When the word domestic violence is used or thought about, the general public usually thinks of physical abuse that gives rise to visible injuries to the victim. Sadly, this is only one type of abuse. There are several categories of domestic abuse, each of which carries its own calamitous consequences. Lethality involved with physical abuse certainly places the victim at greater risk, but the long term annihilation of individuality that goes along with the other forms of abuse is truly significant and cannot be attenuated. In essence and truth, or better still harsh reality, the physical, mental, and emotional consequences are well known, but less so are the financial costs of domestic violence.
What is financial abuse?
This is the burning question on the minds of the readers or the causal factor for the enigmatic look on their faces. On a point of note, while men may also be the victims of domestic abuse, in this case women by and large are usually the victims of financial abuse. In the dyad if one partner is preventing the other from achieving financial independence then he could be considered financially abusive.
Concealed and Difficult to Reveal
Financial abuse is a lesser known aspect that is rarely heard about due to the fact that it is often duplicitous and wrapped up in the confines of an abusive relationship. Again women who are usually the victims in these relationships rarely speak of the issue, due to the accompanying shame linked to having to account for every penny spent, or having to beg for money just to buy even the basic necessities in life.It is an invisible weapon that traps victims in abusive relationships, and statistical evidence attests to its presence in 99% of all domestic violence cases.In some ways is so much easier for the perpetrators to conceal financial abuse, as there are no telltale bruises that would trigger off awkward questions being asked. The number one reason why the survivors of domestic abuse stay or return to an abusive relationship is primarily because they lack the financial resources to sever the ties.
Manifestations of Financial Abuse
Tracking every penny spent
The manner and ways in which this form of abuse manifests itself varies considerably, but often encompasses controlling the partner’s bank account or benefits, requesting to see the receipts accounting for all spending, demanding money or oftentimes stealing money, making their partners solicit money from others, and hindering their victim from spending money on either herself or the children. At one extreme, the abusers do not permit their partners to have any say in the household finances and control every last cent. Then at the other extreme they trap their partners with tons of debts, putting all the household bills in her name. In some cases women in financially abusive relationships are often forced to start careers that they would never have otherwise selected on their own. This adversely and severely hinders their possibility of succeeding and becoming financially stable in their own right.
No Thanks! No Banks !
In financial abuse the woman holds no personal bank account, no debit card(s), no chequing account. The money emanates from one source, namely the working partner. This automatically places her in the role of being total dependent on the abuser for her very existence. She is not allowed to have a job, and if she does then the pay checks go to her partner who deposits them in an account outside of the victim’s control.
Workplace Not Spared
Even the workplace is not spared the controlling wrath of the abuser, for some victims receive threatening calls from their partners. Some are late, or have to be absent from work altogether due to the ensuing injuries from domestic violence. Yet there are others who are forced to hurry home the moment they leave work, for fear of inflaming feelings of jealousy in their abusive partner.
The hapless victim(s) as a consequence becomes trapped in a cycle of poverty that leads to physical and mental ill health, lack of confidence and feelings of isolation.
Irony of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is not restricted exclusively to women experiencing domestic physical violence.Most women suffering financial abuse do not recognize that they are being maltreated because they are not being hit. The emphasis on the role of the victim is somewhat onerous to avoid, especially since a large portion of what is known about domestic violence comes from examination of the victim’s choices as against those of the oppressor. Needless to say a great degree of heedfulness must be taken when examining abuse from this standpoint if we are to avert placing primary responsibility for the occurrence and prolongation of domestic violence on the victim. This is extremely critical, for it is only when we examine this social problem from divers perspectives that we will be better equipped to address ending domestic violence as a responsibility of society as a whole. That is the primary reason why people need to be aware of this issue and to watch out for signs. Financial abuse is the succinct assistant of domestic violence, with fiscal terrorists of the sterner sex preying on the susceptible in the fairer sex. A situation that runs in stark contrast to the old adage” all’s fair in love and war.