Physical violence is not the only type of domestic abuse. Many are victims of what is known as financial abuse, when one partner forcibly controls another’s finances. As a former victim of financial abuse, I know that others will not understand when you attempt to explain how you are being held captive, even without the threat of physical violence. But financial abuse is real and can be very crippling.
The first step is to identify victims of financial abuse.
- You are never allowed to have your own money, or you’re “given” a small allowance that is monitored closely, with all purchases requiring documentation.
- Your partner insists on having your paycheck deposited in their account, without providing you access.
- Not allowed to work, or your spouse/partner limits your working hours.
- Harassing you at work to jeopardize your employment.
- Using your social security number and credit for their own expenses.
- Spending money on themselves, but not allowing you to do the same.
- If you came into the relationship with a child from a previous relationship and your new spouse/partner claims your child on their taxes without your permission.
- They use your child’s savings, tuition or trust fund for their own expenses.
- Giving you gifts or paying for events, but asking you to repay them later.
- Using their money to overpower you because you are not in the same situation as they are.
- Refusing to give you money for food, clothes and/or shelter.
You shouldn’t be held hostage in your own home. When the head of household prevents you from creating a means to leave, it’s time to get help and find a way out.
The following are resources to help you get out of a financially abusive relationship:
- The Police – This is a crime. You may be able to get an order of protection against your abuser.
- The National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 1 (800) 799-SAFE, for help.
- Womenslaw.org – to find a shelter and get out of there!