Monday, March 11, 2013

Honoring the Silent Epidemic on Women's History Month

I'm excited to start a Women's Crisis training class this week. What better time to start this endeavor than on Woman's History Month.

During my research on economic abuse, it was disappointing to not come across in depth material on the subject. Some estimates have been made, but there are no actual numbers available.

Which is sad, considering that economic abuse occurs a lot more than most believe it does. Many women are not willing to admit they are manipulated and abused financially. Part of the reason stems from shame and part from the lack of information available on the topic. It's easier to identify with a behavior when you know what the signs are.

Some may try to align economic abuse with the physical type, but the comparison does not hold up. Physical abuse is usually identifiable through bruises or broken limbs. Economic abuse is a silent, demoralizing epidemic. It leaves no external bruising, but its impact is internalized. Since most domestic relationships experience financial problems, economic abuse is even more difficult to detect.

When a woman is manipulated by money, she loses absolute control of her life. She lives in perpetual uncertainty because she may not have access to the household finances and can't secure her future or escape the abuse. She is stuck in a cycle of fear and vulnerability. Add to that the ease in which an abusive partner can empty out a bank account without the wife's permission or knowledge.

Women can never be empowered if they don't have control over their finances. They are unable to survive alone in the present and can't possibly plan their future.

This series of classes will be my first step to understanding this silent abuse, to honor women past and present by bringing more exposure to it.

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