When we discuss domestic violence as a society, it is often percolating around a celebrity who is a victim or abuser, or an awareness campaign.
What happens next is a slew of well-meaning posts on social media and then, nothing. Crickets chirp.
You see in this age of grandstanding opinions and the information era, many assume that there’s either more help out there than there is or that it’s not really a problem. I fear it has become background noise.
Domestic violence is a systemic infection of coercive, controlling behavior that affects millions of individuals, mostly women, across the US regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.
Financial abuse is often hand-in-hand with domestic violence. Victims are often tracked fiscally, have a lack of financial support, and their partners might even go into debt on purpose to ensure that their victims have no way to leave or to “take” money from them in a divorce. Money is used as a weapon against the victim. On the other end of things we need to pay close attention to the victim who is hoarding or having financial struggles; she might be lacking in resources and might be living in complete fear and deprivation. Remember when the pandemic first hit all of the people hoarding toilet paper and other random foods? That was a survival-based fight, flight, and freeze response. This is not that different for victims of financial abuse.
There are a few studies floating around and there’s not a perfect statistic but it is often agreed that over 95% of victims of domestic abuse in some way are coping with financial abuse as well.
This will escalate until the abuser leaves the relationship, finally.
You’d think that the end of the relationship is the end of the abuse for the victim, correct?
Not so fast.
After the relationship officially ends by law or by separation, moving out of the couple’s home, etc., the abuser often leaves the victim with mountains of debt, with bad credit, and sometimes they even sabotage new jobs that the victim secures. They do this by “blowing up” the victim’s phone with triggering texts and calls, by showing up at the job or threatening to, and other immature yet debilitating behaviors.
If you are a victim of financial abuse and domestic abuse here is a starting point for you.
- Make sure you open a bank account at a bank that you and your partner never used as a couple and that they hopefully do not bank at all.
- Make sure that you do not have any of the updates to your account, including statements, sent to your own home, phone, or email. Get a trusted family member or PO box for updates to be sent.
- Begin saving early. Even saving $10 a month is better than nothing.
- Get a support system who you can trust, and let them know what you are going through.
- Contact your local domestic violence center to get valuable resources.
- If this seems right for you, sign up for my weekly mailer which is at the top of the page, so that you get a three-day virtual retreat, a free chapter from my book, and weekly journaling prompts plus news and content.