Last week we discussed one reason why women stay in abusive relationships. If the abuser enters counseling, the victim will often stay because she is given false hope that the relationship will improve. This week I’d like to talk about money and how it affects a woman’s length of stay with her abuser.
In many states a woman needs her own lawyer when trying to get an Order of Protection from her abuser. This costs money. The abuser can fight the order of protection and bring it to a full court trial, which costs the victim a lot of money. Once the victim has the Order of Protection, it doesn’t guarantee the victim will not be harassed, it only means that the abuser isn’t supposed to harass.
Separation/divorce can cost the victim a substantial amount of money as well. The main characteristic of an abuser is their need to control the victim. They can do this through the court system, dragging out the separation/divorce into a trial, fighting for insignificant things, and/or claiming the woman is abusive. He might fight for custody of the children. All of these tactics cost the abused money she doesn’t necessarily have. This is just one more form of abuse that the victim suffers at the hands of her abuser.
It is common in an abusive relationship that the abuser controls the majority of the finances. Sometimes the victim doesn’t even have access to money. How is she supposed to hire a lawyer? How can she rebuild after divorce without any credit? Some abused women have not worked outside the home. She’ll need to find a job and childcare. It is very difficult for a woman without financial means to leave an abusive relationship because she can’t hire a good lawyer, might have to fight for her children, and/or has to rebuild and live without financial means.
We can support her by giving her access to information. We can help her find a job and daycare and also guide her to a domestic violence organization where they have this information. They may also have access to victim advocates and lawyers.
Remember, if we can help one victim, we’ve done our job. Have a great week.