As we raise awareness around domestic violence, it’s important that we don’t overlook lesser-known types of abuse. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are often the three that are talked about the most around this topic, but it doesn’t end there. In this blog, you will learn about two others; financial and digital abuse.
FINANCIAL OR ECONOMIC ABUSE
Financial abuse, like the other types, is another way for partners to manipulate, intimidate, and threaten the victim in order to entrap that person in the relationship. This type of abuse can be present throughout the duration of a relationship, or, start when the survivor is attempting to leave or has left the relationship. It’s one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship.
It may be subtle and look like love and affection in some cases. For example, the abuser may volunteer to take over the bills and finances while giving the victim money or allowance each week in order to “help” the victim not have to stress over money, until the victim is getting less and less money, is not able to take back control over the finances, and/or the accounts have all been moved. Again, it may seem like a very good-natured offer to help out, but over time becomes their source of power and control.
Financial abuse may not always be subtle, though. It could include forbidding the victim to work or sabotaging work or employment opportunities. It can also be controlling how all the money is spent, refusing to pay bills, and ruining the victims’ credit score. The abuser can also refuse to work or contribute to the family income, and more.
Two ways to protect yourself and safety plan for financial abuse is to ensure you have your own financial assets. You can do that with a private bank account or your own personal cash that is hidden from your partner. You can also putting two-factor authentication on your banking information or credit cards. Here is more about safety planning and how to support someone experiencing financial abuse.
TECHNOLOGICAL OR DIGITAL ABUSE
Using technology such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a partner is digital abuse. Digital abuse can come from anyone, and is more common than we may think. For example, someone texting or messaging repeatedly after not being answered, receiving sexually explicit photos, demanding to know partner’s passwords, or deciding who you are allowed to follow or be friends with online could all qualify as digital abuse.
Many offline behaviors are the same as online. The partner is coercive, controlling, degrading,
and/or embarrassing. Remember, you never have to share your passwords with anyone. You never have to send any explicit pictures, videos, or messages that you’re uncomfortable sending. It’s OK to turn off your phone or not response to messages right away. You can save or document threatening messages, photos, videos, or voice messages as evidence. Know and understand your privacy settings for your social media platforms and be mindful when checking-in places online.
OTHER TYPES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
While this blog gave information on two lesser known types of abuse, there are others that are important to know. These include spiritual, psychological, cultural, abuse by immigration status, and neglect. For more information on identifying abuse, check out the National Domestic Abuse Hotline’s website.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or questioning a relationship, we at Heartland Therapy Connection are ready to help. Our counselors can bring sufficient aid and resources in a person’s journey to safety and recovery. Call us at 816-287-0252 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.