Table of contents:
- When the issue of domestic violence is discussed, the focus is often on the physical impact. Sexual and psychological abuse is somewhat less common. However, only a few lines are given to economic violence even in voluminous stories about abuse
- A bit of terminology
- Politics and psychology
- How to protect yourself from economic violence
Video: Domestic Economic Violence - Relationships, Society
When the issue of domestic violence is discussed, the focus is often on the physical impact. Sexual and psychological abuse is somewhat less common. However, only a few lines are given to economic violence even in voluminous stories about abuse
It is economic violence that often turns out to be a key factor in preventing the victim of a toxic relationship from freeing from the aggressor. In addition, in contrast to psychological abuse, which usually begins gradually and imperceptibly, the abuse of financial leverage is often “turned on” in one of the partners at once, as soon as the other gets into a situation of vulnerability: illness, disability, childbirth, etc. There is no the ability to foresee whether this will happen to a person who has undertaken to support "both in sorrow and in joy."
A bit of terminology
Talking about economic dependence in the family is usually bogged down in numerous qualifications. Where is the line between economic violence and shared budgeting? Is the wife-housewife a rapist, to whom the husband gives all his small salary, leaving a stash for beer and cigarettes?
To understand the issue, let's first define the concept of "economic violence". Modern researchers refer to the sphere of economics as "a set of means, objects, processes used by people to ensure life, satisfy needs" (1). As for the term "violence", then, according to the definition of Doctor of Psychological Sciences Evgeny Ilyin (2), violent relationships differ in several features:
- premeditation, the presence of intent on the part of the aggressor;
- the use of force or power (or the threat of their use);
- harm (pain, physical or psychological trauma, deprivation, etc.) to the victim;
- the presence of compulsion, the inability for the victim to refuse to interact.
Economic violence is present in a relationship if:
- one of the partners deliberately restricts the other in the consumption of material and financial benefits;
- this restriction is associated with the use of physical force, threats, intimidation or abuse of a higher social status;
- the victim ended up in a situation of violence involuntarily (as a result of deception or coercion) and does not have the opportunity to change the situation.
In practice, economic abuse can take many forms. For example, with the declared total budget, one of the partners spends his finances exclusively on personal needs, while sabotaging the fulfillment of household and parental responsibilities. The second partner is thus forced to pay the general bills, food, treatment and clothing of the common child, etc.
Another common option is found in marriages where one of the spouses is busy caring for a small or disabled child, and the other alone manages the family budget.
A working spouse can restrict a non-working person in finances, demand a detailed justification for any expenses and refuse to pay for certain needs if the justification seemed unconvincing to him. At the same time, not only moral and ethical, but also legal norms are violated: according to the Family Code, husband and wife have equal rights to property received in marriage, regardless of their employment.
Politics and psychology
When it comes to economic violence, the feminist slogan “personal is political” is incredibly relevant. The extent to which citizens and especially citizens of the state will be protected from the possibility of falling into financial dependence in their own families is largely determined by the legislation in force in the country.
Several problems contribute to the growing financial insecurity of people in their own families.
- 1. Deterioration of the quality of social services, forcing women to engage in reproductive work: caring for the elderly and the sick, looking after children and their education, etc. - to the detriment of paid work (3).
- 2. Inequality of access of women and men to highly paid professions and positions (restrictions on gender when enrolling in universities, "glass ceilings", specialties prohibited for women, etc.) and a 30 percent difference in average salaries (4).
- 3. Lack of public control of the work of the law enforcement and judicial systems, due to which the “right of the strong” continues to dominate in society: the court and the police take the side of the person who has more financial resources, and the victim remains completely unprotected.
Of course, not only political, but also psychological factors are of great importance. In particular, the most important role in the spread of economic abuse is played by those cultural and social attitudes that are broadcast in mass culture, in educational institutions and in families.
The stereotype of the role of women as a “homemaker” and the purposeful education of girls in “femininity” - modesty, passivity, obedience, etc. - very often prevent girls from building successful careers in science, business or public service.
Beliefs that the meaning of a woman's life is in family and children, or that the only way to get access to material goods is to get married successfully, that women are not “fit” for making money, are implanted so tightly and firmly that girls themselves internalize them. Growing up, they continue to broadcast these dogmas as their own attitudes. Thus, the model of the family, in which the wife is forced to financially depend on her husband, is perceived by society as a norm, against which it is senseless and even unnatural to protest.
Fortunately, these principles, albeit slowly, but nevertheless, are being replaced by new ones: respect for each person, regardless of gender, age, appearance, etc. More and more families bring up in their daughters first of all self-worth and self-confidence, aim them at independent choice of life path. This provides support to resist abuse, although it is not 100% reliable protection against falling into its trap.
How to protect yourself from economic violence
The trap of economic violence is often the most common people who adhere to moral standards, keep their own promises and expect the same from their partners
This is what people take advantage of, deceiving other people's trust and using moments of vulnerability to assert their own power. It is impossible to completely protect oneself from this, but it is within our power to provide internal and external supports of our own independence and to provide support to our loved ones if they need our help.
Maintain legal literacy.
For your own financial security, it is absolutely necessary to navigate the current legal norms governing property relations in marriage and after marriage, during inheritance, custody of minor children, etc. The texts of the most important documents are available for free familiarization on state portals, and on some Internet resources there are free legal services where you can consult on a specific life situation.
Not agree to hand over financial control to a partner.
Many cases of economic violence in a couple or in the family begin with the voluntary refusal of one of the partners (usually a woman) to control the family and sometimes their own income. Often this is presented under the guise of care: "The husband will provide for the family, and you only take care of the house and children."
Considering that most of the household burden and education of the younger generation "by default" falls on a woman, regardless of whether she works or not, for many, getting rid of at least one of the three obligatory "shifts" looks really attractive.
Unfortunately, this often becomes the first step towards a situation where the once “happy wife and mother” finds that she has to account for even the smallest expenses, and it is almost impossible to earn money on her own with children in her arms and after a long break in her career.
Critically analyze the relationship with your partner.
It is extremely helpful to ask yourself the question from time to time: “Am I feeling fine? Are there any imbalances in our interaction with a partner?"
It is worth remembering that the assessment of the situation “from the inside” cannot be sufficiently objective and in some cases it is useful to use the help of a “third person” as a mediator in difficult or conflict situations. Such a mediator can be a trusted friend or a psychologist who specializes in family therapy.
Directly voice claims, doubts and arguments.
This tactic is useful not only in matters related to the distribution of the family budget, but also in any other problematic moments. Nevertheless, in many families, the discussion of financial matters is still considered "shameful": women, directly or indirectly, are prohibited from raising the topic of unequal contribution to a joint household, making large purchases, taking into account a possible divorce, etc.
A series of omissions and insufficiently clear agreements can create a abuse of power by one of the partners, and therefore the best strategy is compliance by both parties with transparency in the field of the family economy.
Consider the “hidden cost” of reproductive labor.
The substitution of concepts, when the partner providing all the household needs of the family is declared to be “sitting on the neck” of the worker, very easily devalues the work of raising children, “home management” and economic activity.
Simple calculations show that in a significant part of families, financial stability is ensured due to the fact that one of the spouses undertakes unpaid work, which allows not to spend money on babysitting services, cleaning, prepared food, etc. When distributing family income, it is important not to forget about an adequate assessment of not only the financial contribution, but also the real labor costs of each of the spouses.
Invest in your own education and career.
Many women perceive the cost of raising their own qualifications or training seminars as an “unaffordable luxury,” and therefore allocate funds for them on a “leftover basis”.
Meanwhile, these investments very often pay off by increasing the woman's value as a specialist and following this increase in her wages. It is very important to consider the need for these investments when planning the family budget - in the end it will benefit the whole family.
Create and replenish a financial "safety cushion".
Economic violence is often based on the victim's inability to survive without financial support from a partner. In this regard, it is very important to create and maintain a reserve of funds, which, in an emergency situation, would make it possible to stay afloat for at least several months.
Such a "pillow" can be, for example, a deposit account, premarital rental housing, or at least money savings on a card, access to which is impossible without the personal consent of the owner.
Have a backup plan.
Maintaining their own independence is facilitated by a well-thought-out procedure in the event of a sudden separation from a partner (taking into account the need to live completely at the expense of their income, to defend their own property rights in court, etc.).
The presence of such a plan can greatly facilitate the situation in other situations: sudden disability of the main "earner" in a pair, unforeseen dismissal, etc.
Maintain social connections.
One of the most common scenarios for the development of domestic violence is the gradual cutting off of family and friendship ties and the social isolation of the victim. Thus, in the event of a disastrous situation, she has no one to turn to for help, and she is forced to remain with the abuser against her own will.
To counteract this, it is very important to pay attention to communication with supportive members of the "big family", friends, colleagues. It is possible that in a critical situation it is their help that will be the first step to salvation.