Financial Abuse is Domestic Violence

My husband used money for leverage, power, control and triangulation. He tried to use money to regain control over me after he abandoned me & I went no contact. I was terrified when he first left me with no money, food & all the bills past due, but I’ve made it. It hasn’t been easy but God has supplied all of my needs. Healing has been slow but I’m in such a better place spiritually & mentally. I would not be where I’m at today without the kindness of strangers & a Secret Angel to whom I will forever be grateful.

BREAK THE SILENCE AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

By Survivors for Survivors

The Impact of Financial Abuse
Dating a Thief: The Impact of Financial Abuse

By Amy Thomson

One of the most frequently cited reasons survivors give for not leaving an abusive relationship is lack of financial resources. Estimates state that victims experience financial abuse in 98 – 99% of all cases of domestic violence. It is a form of control that restricts the victim from being financially independent through hardship and traps the victim in the abuse because they have no way to survive outside the relationship.

The main reason financial abuse is such an effective form of control is that victims often rely on the abuser for shelter, food, clothing, medical, and child care expenses. It is common for abusers to deny victims the right to work outside the home as a way to exact tighter control over their victims.

Under these circumstances, the victim and children are at the abuser’s mercy as the abuser is the only source of income. The victim has no source of independent income and relies upon the abuser’s medical insurance and salary to cover household expenses and personal needs. Victims are often barred access to lines of credit and bank cards and given an “allowance” by their abuser that is insufficient to cover household expenses.

Even when the victim is allowed to work – or is forced to be the only provider – the abuser still usurps control over household finances. Paper checks are confiscated and the abuser controls access to the victim’s bank cards.

Some of the more obvious impacts of economic abuse make it challenging to be financially self-sufficient in a world that requires stable income and credit ratings for the most basic needs. It can damage the victim’s credit score and make it impossible to qualify for loans, mortgages, and other lines of credit. Evictions lead to difficulty in securing safe, affordable housing. Finding work can be a struggle when the victim does not feel comfortable explaining the gaps in employment.

What may not be so obvious is the potential to increase the level of danger in cases of intimate partner violence. One of the most troubling aspects of economic abuse is the power it has to trap the victim with the abuser. When combined with isolation tactics – either through physical distance or forced alienation from loved ones – the risk increases exponentially.

Entrapment by financial abuse occurs because the victim is financially dependent upon the abuser due to lack of access to family finances making it nearly impossible to leave. When the abuser controls all aspects of the victim’s financial life, the victim has no safety net. Without work, a victim seeking to escape their abuser cannot afford basics like shelter, utilities, food, medical or child care. Knowing they cannot afford these things on their own often leads them to stay with their abuser and keeps them at risk for escalation of abuse, physical injury, or death.

Financial abuse also causes hardships after a victim has left. Costs of living and inability to find sufficient work coupled with damaged credit increases their risk of homelessness and living in poverty. Medical conditions may go untreated as they cannot afford doctors’ appointments or medication. Conditions may deteriorate to the degree where the victim may return to their abuser. When the victim makes this choice, they are at increased risk of retaliation, heightened control, and escalation of physical violence.

Signs of Financial Abuse

Your partner demands that you account for all expenditures and often becomes angered at the smallest discrepancy.
Your partner displays signs of annoyance or jealousy when you spend money on yourself or others – even if the purchases are small amounts.
Your partner expects you to ask them before you spend any money – even if you are not married and do not share joint accounts.
Your partner presses you to leave your job and stay at home under the guise of wanting to take care of you. They may also force you to work in positions that bar you from advancing or be unsupportive of promotions. Conversely, your partner may refuse to work and force you to cover all living expenses.
You have become scared of your partner’s reaction when you spend money and hide purchases.
Your partner assumes control of all finances and forces you ask permission for access to money, lines of credit, or other accounts. You may also have an “allowance” that deliberately falls short of personal expenses or bills.
Your partner forces you to give them your PIN numbers and passwords for all financial accounts.
Your partner accumulates unpaid debts in your name and refuses to pay them off. You also may be asked to cosign for loans in their name or close out your 401K.
Your partner interferes with access to transportation to and from work or acts in such a way that causes you to be fired from your job.
What to Do before Leaving

If you are safely able, keep small amounts of change from purchases hidden in a safe place or open a bank account or credit line in your name with all communication set to electronic.

If you cannot safely hide the above at home, hide money and important financial, personal, and medical information with someone you trust. This includes account numbers on which the abuser may have you listed.

Use the phone or computer of someone you trust to search for information on public assistance and domestic violence organizations.

What to Do after Leaving

To determine the extent of damage caused by the financial abuse, you need to begin the discovery process by pulling credit reports. You can run three free reports a year at AnnualCreditReport.Com. Once you have a clearer picture of the damage, begin contacting creditors. You can also dispute errors or fraudulent activity with the bureaus.

Another resource you can use is your state’s Crime Victims Board. Some allow for the application of financial assistance for urgent basic needs with the provision that you had your abuser arrested and charged.

Some domestic violence organizations like Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence have financial literacy and grant programs. They may also have scholarship programs for survivors and family affected by domestic violence. Others may have holiday adoption programs to help those affected by abuse afford gifts for children.

Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence MISSION:
To educate communities on the dangers of domestic violence, connect victims and survivors, and assist them in the transformation of their lives – by providing a personal development retreat, scholarships, financial empowerment, an advocate-run hotline, and our innovative awareness campaigns.
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Domestic Violence Awareness: Financial Abuse is Domestic Violence

‘My Husband Never Let Me Spend More than $200 a Month on Food’

One woman shares her story of financial abuse, an all-too-common form of domestic violence.

 October 17, 2016

Comfort One Another

Domestic Violence Awareness
Comfort from Others
What has helped me to move forward and not lose hope has been comfort from others. I call it Favor from God. Encouragement through a blog, or a kind word in the comments area. Someone you never met in person sends you money to help you buy a small heater. Which I use to warm the one room in the house I spend all my time in. A book comes in the mail to help you understand how to heal your unseen wounds “The Walking Wounded”.
A therapist sees your tweet about the tremendous fear you have from the sound of a door and reaches out and give you the solution to combat that fear.
I’ve met so many women who have simply given up on God. I haven’t given up God because I knows He loves me. I also haven’t given up because of the comfort from others.
Joyce

Starting Over After a Midlife Divorce

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” The author of the book, St. Paul, tells us that we are to be a comfort to others as we ourselves have received comfort from God.

We were not made to walk through this life alone. There is strength in community – whether that community is online, in person, across state and international boundaries or in your own neighborhood. I have a good friend whom I have known for 13 years. She has been with me through thick and thin, tears of sorrow and tears of joy, anger and happiness. We had dinner last evening. I love this friend…

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TINY MINDS…

Domestic Violence Awareness
A Survivor Surviving

Empower your SELF and live

drink-me-alice   Tiny minds, big egos.  Little self-esteem, a lot of expectations of others.  Small thinking, huge communication problems.

It’s a small world but theirs is a big world when you are the one that has to revolve around it.  Because after all, isn’t that what we do?  Revolve around them?  Their wants, their needs, their happiness until one day we decide we need to expand our horizons from their tiny cubicle of a life to our vast, wonderful life waiting for us!

For us as targets, it’s changing our outcome.  We don’t need their approval or their acceptance to enjoy our life.

I was ready to let my light shine again!  And he tried to snuff it out every chance he got.

Once he left:

  • He didn’t pay the bills in my name even though I was a stay at home mom
  • He took away one-half of the rental income…

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Domestic Violence Awareness: Financial Violence        

 

Financial Violence: 4 Signs to Watch for in a New Relationship

(Image: iStock.com/PeopleImages)

(Image: iStock.com/PeopleImages)

By        –Blackenterprise.com

Most people think of domestic or intimate partner violence in physical terms, however there are other recognizable forms of abuse that can be predictors of the potential for physical violence in a relationship. These forms of abuse include verbal, emotional, and financial violence.

Recognizing these predictive patterns of behavior early while still getting to know someone is critical in avoiding abusive relationships. As a personal finance journalist, educator, and the co-creator of Grown Zone Relationship Education, I am passionate about teaching people what they need to know to protect themselves, in their pursuit of healthy intimate relationships.

Because a person’s relationship with money is often a reflection of a person’s sense of self-esteem, power, and control, signs of a financial abuser can actually be spotted relatively early on in relationships, long before physical abuse even becomes apparent. Unfortunately, because of our reluctance to address financial habits and behaviors in relationships, typically acts of financial violence are overlooked or dismissed.

Protecting your finances—as well as your emotional health and physical safety—means vigilantly watching for signs of financially abusive behaviors in a relationship.

Examples of such abuse include the following:

  1. Your partner attempts to read your mail, go through your purse, or otherwise gain access to your money and/or personal financial information without your knowledge or consent, or over your objections. In the beginning, they may insist that they are “just playing” or that they are doing it to get a rise out of you. Don’t be fooled—they are not playing.
  2. They engage in behaviors that undermine your ability to get a job, start a business, or that put the job or business you have at risk. It could begin with always calling when they know you have an important meeting, or showing up at your job or at a business lunch unannounced.
  3. They exhibit “Jekyll and Hyde” personas, demonstrating financial generosity in front of other people, but vindictiveness when the two of you are alone. For example, on a double date at an expensive restaurant, he or she may insist that you may order whatever you want on the menu. Then later, while driving you home, they may angrily accuse you of taking advantage of their generosity and insist that you owe them. This usually means you are expected to acquiesce to anything they demands of you, including sex.
  4. They constantly press you to grant financial favors, such as extending loans and paying their bills, and they react angrily or maliciously when you don’t. Punishment for your failure to grant requests could range from withering verbal attacks to destruction of your property.

If you see any of these signs of financial violence, do not ignore them. Minimizing or dismissing them could not only put your financial health at risk, it could also literally put your life in danger. According to theNational Network to End Domestic Violence, financial violence is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships.

Recognizing the signs of a financial abuser early in a relationship should prompt you to end it immediately, to minimize damage to your finances and avoid becoming a target of other forms of abuse. When it comes to domestic violence, as with most threats to your health and safety, prevention is far better than the cure of rescue and recovery after damage is done.

The key to avoiding abuse is setting and strictly enforcing standards for your treatment in relationships. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy against any form of abuse, including financial violence. As we say in the Grown Zone, the rules of love and money are the same as for boxing: protect yourself at all times.

All credits belong to                            Black Enterprise Executive Editor-at-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert, personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a relationship education initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.

Caterpillar to Butterfly: From Victim to Victorious

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month I wanted to share this because I’m transforming from Victim to Victor.

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

From victim to victorious…
are the words that came to me…
as I looked at this picture…
and the transformation we can see.
For wanting to fly away…
is actually a common thought…
as many have wanted to escape…
from the battles being fought.
For victims are victimized…
and made to feel so low…
as they endure many abuses…
that most don’t even know.
And though some actually crawl…
on egg shells most walk…
for many have been beaten…
but all have suffered abusive talk.
For attack after attack…
just beats us down more…
as fear and brokenness increases…
with the abuses we deplore.

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