Domestic Abuse Misconception #28: Financial abuse just isn't that big of a deal. The reality is that, while financial abuse may not sound like a serious issue, it has a huge impact on a victim's life, ability to leave an abusive relationship, and ability to start a new life away from her abuser.
Financial abuse, or economic abuse, is almost always present when there are other forms of abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that 94-99% of domestic abuse survivors have experience economic abuse.
Financial abuse happens when an abuser takes the victim's money, refuses to let the victim get a job, jeopardizes her ability to keep a job due to stalking and other abuse, refuses to let her get the education she needs to get a job, limits her access to money, hides income in separate accounts, takes out loans in her name, or forces the victim to pay for all necessities for both the abuser and the victim. Again, this is all done as a means of power and control.
The damage is huge. A victim who has no access to money has very few options. Most victims find they are unable to leave their abuser because of economic reasons. The ability to establish a new life, free from abuse, is particularly challenging when the abuser has run up huge bills in the victim's name and likely ruined her credit.
Please don't ever take financial abuse lightly. It may not seem as serious as physical abuse or emotional abuse but it is certainly destructive with the intention on limiting the victim's freedom.
Here is an article that discusses some of the challenges a victim may have when trying to move forward with her life.
(Note: In all of my posts I use "he" for abuser and "she" for victim for simplicity and because, in the majority of cases, the abuser is male. But it can be the opposite with a female abuser. Dynamics of abuse can also happen in same sex relationships.)