WHY DO SOME VICTIM-SURVIVORS STAY IN AN ABUSE RELATIONSHIP?
“It can’t be that bad”, is a common assumption concerning mistreated victim-survivors who choose to stay. The truth is that they are unable to leave an abusive relationship due to a variety of reasons.
dependence on the abuser for money.
they were unaware of their rights.
a conviction that the police are powerless to assist them.
thinks they deserve to be abused.
the conviction that, with enough effort, they can stop the abuse or that the abuser would change.
they might be forbidden from seeing other people, or the abuser might threaten to hurt those they love.
those that the victim-survivor seeks assistance from might not accept it or hold them accountable.
embarrassment and shame about the maltreatment.
the idea that the kids need the other parent.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN AN ECONOMICALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
• Don’t use credit or debit cards, which might be used to trace your whereabouts by an abuser.
• Maintain your financial and personal records in a secure area. Leave copies with a dependable friend, family member, or in a bank safety deposit box that is out of your abuser’s reach.
• Create a box of crucial paperwork and papers for your family’s emergency evacuation.
• Maintain duplicates of your house and car keys, extra cash, and emergency phone numbers in a secure location.
• Make sure your abuser cannot track your online activities if you use the internet to investigate domestic violence concerns or learn how to recover financial independence.
• Make a list of your financial assets and liabilities.
• If your partner is in charge of the finances, try to learn more about his or her earnings, assets, real estate, and obligations.
• If you’re thinking about ending the relationship, figure out how much it would cost you to live alone and start saving some of your own money, even if it’s only a few rands, in a secure location.
• Take a look at the data in your credit report, order a copy from one of the three major credit agencies, and report any fraud, contested claims, or identity theft.
IDENTIFYING ECONOMIC ABUSE
Many different types of economic abuse exist. Any of the following could be done by an abuser:
Sabotage your income and access to money:
• prevent you from being in education or employment
• interfering with attempts to further their education or doing courses
• limit your working hours
• take your pay or salary
• refuse to let you claim benefits such as SASSA
• take children’s savings or birthday money
• refuse to let you access a bank account or keeps your bank card
• hiding required documentation that you need for work such as your ID
• stalking you at your place of work
Restrict how you use money and the things that you own:
• control when and how money is spent
• dictate what you can buy and what you may not buy
• make you ask for money every time or provide you a small allowance
• check your receipts and insist that you keep receipts of everything you buy
• make you keep a spending diary
• make you justify and explain every purchase made
• control the use of property, such as your mobile phone or car
• insist all economic assets (e.g. savings, house) are in their name
• keep financial information secret
Exploit your economic situation:
• steal your money or property
• cause damage to your property
• refuse to contribute to household costs
• forcing you to sign financial documents, or forging your signature
• spend money needed for household items and bills
• misuse money in joint bank accounts
• insist all bills, credit cards and loans are in your name and make you pay them
• build up debt in your name, sometimes without your knowledge
• lies about the cost of things like rent and groceries that they buy
• keeping all assets in the abuser’s name, while forcing you to keep all debt in your name only