Domestic violence is often only thought about in terms of physical abuse. But according to experts economic abuse, where the abusive partner controls access to the finances, can also play a part.
New Book Addresses Economic Domestic Violence
Ludy Green has worked with survivors of domestic violence for more than 20 years. And in 2001 she started Second Chance Employment Services, an employment agency that employs domestic violence survivors in an effort to create financial independence for those who have suffered economic abuse. Green feels economic abuse is a main reason for why women stay with abusive partners. As she writes in her book, Ending Domestic Violence Captivity: A Guide to Economic Freedom, “Why does she stay? Despite appearances to the contrary, the decision to stay is not a decision at all. She stays because she lacks the power to leave.”
Forms of Economic Abuse
Economic abuse can take many forms. Here are a few of the tactics abusers employ to control and isolate their victims:
There are numerous ways an abuser can sabotage a victim’s employment ability. The abuser can cause physical injuries so humiliating that the victim does not want to go to work. Sleep deprivation, harassing the victim during work, refusing to provide child care, or withholding use of a car, are all ways to keep a victim from being able to work. “Maybe he says ‘You don’t need to drive anymore, I can drive you,’ and then he stops taking you,” says Green. “A big part of domestic abuse is isolating the person, separating her from her friends, from the family, from other people.”
Another form of economic abuse is when the abuser takes full control of the finances, preventing the victim from accessing the bank account. This also allows the abuser to withhold access to cash so that the victim is completely dependent.
Stealing Money / Creating Debt
Some abusers, after having gained control of the finances, steal from their victims. Recently, there has been a trend in abusers employing identity fraud. By racking up debt it destroys the victim’s credit rating, thus depleting the ability to get out from under financial burden.
Another tactic is to undermine a victim’s sense of safety and security through offering access to money in an inconsistent way.
Deprivation of Financial Power
Depriving a victim of financial power means they are completely reliant on the abuser. “When someone is in an abusive relationship, they are basically deprived of power — they are in a state of domestic captivity,” Green said. “If women have some financial security, they are much more empowered and are more likely to be able to escape.”
Source: The Huffington Post, The Insidious Form Of Domestic Violence That No One Talks About, October 21, 2014
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