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Financial abuse connected to domestic violence

Many in Clarksville may find it difficult to comprehend why the victims of domestic violence do not immediately leave (or in some cases, even refuse to seek prosecution for) their abusers. Yet statistics show that such cases are not all that uncommon. Data shared by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows that off all domestic violence cases reported between 2012-2014, 22,595 victims refused to cooperate in the prosecution of their abusers. Many believe that countless other cases go unreported altogether.

Why is it so difficult for victims of domestic violence to escape their abusive marriages? Some may immediately point to fear of how their abusers may react as the reason why such victims do not leave. In many cases, however, that fear is not of continued abuse, but rather of how they’ll be able to break the financial hold their spouses have over them. Oftentimes, financial control becomes an extension of domestic violence, with abusers overseeing all accounts and expenditures. Thus, even if the victims of abuse want to leave, they may not have the financial means to do so.

The Allstate Foundation reports that only 39 percent of women have taken action to help protect themselves from financial abuse. Examples of such action may be:

  • Seeking education or vocational training (in secret if necessary)
  • Establishing individual bank accounts and directing money to them when possible
  • Establishing credit through an individual credit card
  • Researching options related to government assistance

In many cases, one may not have the time to build up enough funds to escape before his or her abuse becomes life-threatening. In such instances, it is recommended that one secretly reach out to family or friends to provide shelter and support that will allow him or her to leave the marriage immediately.