Over the last two weeks we have analyzed two types of domestic abuse: emotional and physical. Verbal, mental, spiritual, and psychological abuse fall under the umbrella of emotional abuse. Physical abuse is both physical violence and sexual assault.
Today I’d like to talk about economic or financial abuse. This is a very common form of abuse and occurs in most cases of domestic violence.
Abuse is all about control, power, and manipulation. What better way to gain power than by cutting off the victim’s access to the family’s finances?
Listed below are just some examples of economic abuse:
Preventing the victim from working.
Making her give the abuser her paycheck.
Making her account for all spending and put the victim on a strict budget.
Give the victim a small allowance.
Denying victim access to information on family finances.
The abuser controls all money and financial decisions.
The abuser runs up credit card bills.
He ruins her credit.
All of these examples show the victim losing control of an important part of her livelihood. If she isn’t allowed to work, her social contact is limited and she can’t advance in her profession. She becomes more dependent on him financially.
When the abuser controls the amount of money spent, the victim is in a difficult position. It takes away her choices and freedom. Also, if she spends more money than ‘allotted’, she risks being abused.
Having no control over the family budget implies she is beneath the abuser and is just a possession.
Ruining the victim’s credit cripples the victim and can prevent her from leaving the abuser because of financial reasons. This fulfills the abusers motive of gaining power and control in the relationship.
What can someone who is a victim of economic abuse do?
She can run her credit report and see if the abuser has opened credit card accounts in her name. Start putting money aside in a new individual bank account. Also, open a P.O. Box to receive financial statements and other pertinent information.
Any form of abuse is unacceptable. Economic abuse is just another example of how an abuser tries to control and manipulate.
If you’re being abused or know someone who is, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help. 1-800-799-7233.
Remember, if we can help just one victim, we’ve done our job.