Posted in Life, lifestyle, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 3: Using Children

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Violence comes in many forms.  Some forms of violence don’t involve physical injury but the effects of non-physical violence can leave scars and wounds that last long after the relationship.  There are many factors that contribute to the inability to sever ties abruptly.  It can be very hard for people to understand unless they have found themselves in the same or similar situation.

Staying together for the kids

Abuse is often about power and leverage.  When children are involved, abusers often use the children as leverage to gain control.  Threatening to turn the children against a parent, or making a partner feel guilty for wanting to leave by insinuating they are breaking up the family are two very common manipulations abuser use to keep their partner from ending the relationship.  It is a natural desire to want to keep the family together or have both parents present in the lives of the children, but if the risks of harm outweigh the benefits, then taking some time to assess the current state of affairs may be a great idea.

If there is a combination of abuse taking place like, for example, verbal, physical, financial, etc, it can create a very toxic environment that may influence and manifest in your children’s behavior.  It may also have long lasting effects that manifest later in the child’s adulthood.  This is a factor that must also be considered when deliberating on whether to stay or go.  Financial exploitation or abuse often comes hand in hand with using children.  This can be a very difficult situation with a stay at home mom, for example whose job was child-rearing while the spouse was the bread winner.  Another notable technique is not allowing the other parent to see the children unless they comply with a request like for example, move back into the house.

Using the children is extremely cruel and exacerbates emotional, psychological and physiological well-being.  The children should not be used as messengers and visitation should not be used as an opportunity to engage.  A common myth is that this is just part of the territory when couples break up.  This is simply not true.  None of this is okay.  Even if this is as bad as it gets on the Wheel of Power & Privilege, make no mistake – it is still a form of abuse.

I have provided links below if you are interested in finding out more information.  Both organizations can help refer some local contacts if need be.  If you have any questions, you are free to reach out to me as well.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Family Solutions  – Father’s Rights

Posted in relationship, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 2: Financial/Economic Abuse

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Financial or Economic Abuse is probably one of the most undercover types of abuse.  It can come in many forms and also spans socioeconomic lines.  The term, “Financial (Economic) Abuse” may be new to some of you, so before we begin lets get familiar with what it means.

What is Financial/Economic Abuse?

Financial/Economic Abuse is a form of abuse where the finances are used to control, manipulate and/or oppress another person.  It can come in many forms:

  1. Withholding or control all access to the finances, purchases and budgeting.
  2. Expecting sex in return for access to the finances or for access to meet basic needs.
  3. Using the partner’s financial information for personal gain (taking out loans without permission).
  4. Deliberately not paying the bills to ruin credit standing.

Financial/Economic Abuse is far more widespread that we think.  It is also quite common with the elderly population and their caregiver (family member included).

Why Not Just Leave?

Financial/Economic Abuse  is a key factor in the answer to this question because Financial/Economic Abuse is often accompanied by Physical/Emotional/Psychological Abuse.  Being able to support oneself, and their children (if they have any) is a very crucial component to survival. Perhaps, there is property or inheritance involved.  Often times, disability or terminal illness may be a factor – inability to efficiently be cared for is a vulnerability that can facilitate oppression and abuse.  The abuser will wield these vulnerabilities as a weapon.

Taking Advantage

Just because it is your spouse (significant other), or your child, or parent, does not give them the right to withhold your finances, use your name to obtain a loan or some other goods/properties, or demand that you should provide them with something in return.  Using threats like: ” it’s your name on the mortgage or lease, so maybe I’ll just stop paying it.”  – IS NOT OKAY.

Other forms of Financial/Economic Abuse is when the abuser has total financial control and everything is in their name which could result in having nothing should the relationship end.  This can be a very scary reality if someone is in a city where they do not have a support system of their own: no friends, family, job, home,  car or money.

Some Financial/Economic Abuse dynamics may involve sex coercion in exchange for basic needs to be met like food, clothing, etc.  This type of abuse can occur within any socioeconomic class.  There is a level of shame associated with it and therefore, many people suffer in silence as a result.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence

Below is an excerpt of the Quick Guide: Economic and Financial Abuse by NCDV

Employment-related abuse prevents the victim from earning money by:

  • Preventing victim from going to work
  • Sabotaging a victim’s employment
  • Interfering with a victim’s work performance through harassing activities such as frequent phone calls or unannounced visits
  • Demanding that the victim quits her/his job
  • Preventing the victim from looking for jobs or attending job interviews

Prevent Victims from Accessing Existing Funds

Abusers also prevent victims from accessing existing funds by:

  • Deciding when/how victim can use cash, bank accounts, or credit/debit cards
  • Forcing victim to give abuser money, ATM cards, or credit cards
  • Demanding that the lease/mortgage or assets be in the abuser’s name
  • Using victim’s checkbook, ATM card, or credit/debit cards without the victim’s knowledge
  • Preventing victim’s access to bank account(s)

Resources

If you would like to learn more about Financial/Economic Abuse or if you believe you or someone you know may need help, please visit the websites listed below.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

InCharge Debt Solutions

How to Identify Financial Abuse in a Relationship

Understanding Financial Abuse and Safety Planning

Elder Financial Exploitation