We have all heard that the love of money is the root of all evil. For excessive wealth breeds corruption, greed, and manipulation within our society, and we all know our place in the class system. These traits are not exclusively reserved for the wealthy, for even the smallest amount of money, or the promise of money can be used as a tool of manipulation and control over another human being. It is the need for power and control that fuels inequalities in relationships where Domestic Violence is prevalent. This also includes Financial Abuse. Financial Abuse is Domestic Violence.
I am addressing Financial Abuse for the simple reason that it we have started the New Year very much immersed in a pandemic where most are having strain placed on income, and when there is any fluctuation in income, whether that be excess or not enough, stress occurs. It is more often than not that I am reminded that when people think of Domestic Violence, they seem to associate that only with the physical, visible abuse. What goes unseen many times in Domestic Violence is the Financial Abuse that often is taking place. Financial abuse can look many ways such as putting a person on an allowance or making them ask for money, not letting a person have access to family income or forcing a person to turn over their paycheck, keeping one from having any say or role in deciding how money is spent, stopping/preventing someone from getting or keeping a job or, lastly, spending money that is needed for utilities, rent, and food on things such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling.
Financial Abuse is Domestic Violence. It is degrading and dehumanizing to the victim being controlled. It’s also one of the biggest barriers as to why people stay in abusive relationships; they simply fear they will not be able to make it without the abuser or have even been told they will not be able to make it without the financial support of their abuser. Financial Abuse is silent and often overlooked, and some people aren’t even aware that they are being financially abused and manipulated. You must know about something before you can recognize it. During this peculiar time of tax season where family finances can be uncharacteristically up or down, it is important to know the signs of financial abuse. We at Dove, Inc. offer help for those in abusive financial situations. Please don’t be afraid to reach out. All services are confidential and free.
Liz Mackey is the Piatt County Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Program