Continuing on in our series on types of domestic violence. We’ve covered physical and emotional/psychological abuse so far and you can read those posts below if you would like to catch up.
This week we are going to chat on one that some don’t really think about. Economic or financial abuse.
Let’s first talk about what it is.
Economic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves and forces them to depend on the perpetrator financially.
Some of the most common examples are.
1 Conceals financial information
2. Limits a victim’s access to assets
3 Controls a victim’s ability to
4. Exploits a victim’s resources
5, Dictates how all family funds are
Physical abuse is completely unsafe and dangerous but I also feel like this one is the next one in line. Most domestic violence victims feel trapped to stay in dangerous situations that could escalate because they also do not have the resources to leave.
Their partner controls the finances and often times do so for this exact reason. Some have to ask for money to get food, clothes and basic needs. You rely on the abuser so much for pretty much everything you need as a human to stay alive. The thought of leaving is terrifying because you may not have one single dime when you leave.
Another form is not allowing you to make your own money. Your not allowed to work outside the home or online. Any money you receive has to go to them or in the “house” account that you never get to see. This is particularly hard because you always here advise saying save up and make a plan when you can get out. How can you save if you have no income.
I’ve had stories of survivors reach out that they started saving seriously by taking change from going to get groceries and loose change they find. It’s seriously that small of a start but it’s something.
Another option is if you have access to the internet I had an email from a survivor that she signed up for online surveys that paid to a PayPal account. Slow process but she felt like she was taking the time to build her self at least a little something.
But here is what I do want to say..if you ever feel like you are not safe or it’s escalating to a level it hasn’t before and you need to leave right away please do it. There are shelters and organizers like myself that will do whatever we need to do to keep you safe. No money in the bank will keep you alive if it gets that bad. Just leave if you can as safe as you can and it’s ok to rely on help in the beginning.
My abuser actually left me unannounced and took everything with him. At the time I was 3000 miles away from my closet friend and no means to get back to where I had a soft place to land. He took my furniture and any money we had together and left me with only my clothes.
It’s completely terrifying feeling so helpless and not sure how you will end up but trust me. There are enough people that care about you that will be there no matter what. I realized I had so many people willing to help once it was k own what had happened. A go fund me was set up and within days I had enough to get back to a safe place.
It was humbling to feel the love. People I didn’t even know sent me a little something. I cried with every ding of my phone alerting me. It was like a little hug.
Bottom line is safety first. If you can work out a plan safely then absolutely do so to minimize impact but please no matter what, do not stay because of the lack of stability. This community and the community has got your back.