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Domestic Violence Spotlight: Financial Abuse

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Domestic violence has received a great deal of attention in the media lately due to the recent NFL scandals. But oftentimes, people focus on physical abuse. While physical abuse is part of domestic violence, there are several other forms of abuse such as: psychological, sexual, verbal, and financial.

This particular post focuses on financial abuse, the signs, and what you can do to get help. You may be surprised to know that financial abuse happens to both men and women.

Financial abuse is often overlooked in cases of domestic violence in large part because it can be connected with culture or traditional gender roles.  For example, if the relationship is strongly tied to the man working and the woman staying home with the children, the wife often becomes dependent on the husband for financial support. When this happens, it is easy for the husband to hide assets, withhold money, or prevent the wife from looking for work or receive training.

Now, this doesn’t mean that that husband is always the abuser; wives can be financially abusive as well. For example, the husband may be unable to afford to take care of the family on his income alone and may need his wife to bring in additional money or reduce the amount of expenses in the home. The wife can refuse to work, ruin his credit score by not paying the bills with the money given, or run up large amounts of debt on the joint credit cards.

Financial abuse is a tactic used to gain power and control in a relationship and can be used by either party. Regardless of who is the abuser, both parties are able to affect the other through manipulation, threats, and deceit.

Signs of Financial Abuse:

1)  Not allowing the other party to work, which can involve the use of threats to obtain compliance.
2)  Sabotaging employment of a significant other, such as harassment at work, excessive phone calls, etc.
3)  Hiding money or assets.
4)  Forcing him or her to work for a family business without pay. Everyone should be paid at some point.
5)  Refusing to financially contribute to the family’s income.
6)  Stealing the other person’s identity. Opening up accounts without his or her knowledge.
7)  Running up debt with no intention to pay and/or knowing the finances are unable to support such spending.

How to Get Help

* Protect Yourself and Get Back on Your Feet

National Network to End Domestic Violence

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt "The High Achiever's Therapist"

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!