Women, financial dependency and abusive relationships

1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical abuse in a relationship (1).80% is the prevalence of emotional abuse in relationships (2).

Financial instability is one of the greatest reasons why women get back into an abusive relationship after gaining their freedom, and why many of them don’t leave in the first place.

Historically, women have been excluded from the highest spheres of politics and economy, keeping them into roles and status that are completely dependent on a man. This situation has been leaving women in the margins of society, not being able to enjoy the same rights nor the same amount of freedom as men do.

Being raised to be dependent and compliant, in many cultures, women are still instilled to live a life that is decided by their families, and not to live their own life with their own decisions. The modern woman, even if she tries, sometimes seems to have problems getting rid of those patterns and getting stuck into abusive relationships by themselves. Sometimes by their own upbringing, sometimes because inequality leaves them at the expenses of the men they get involved with.

It is still a reality in many cultures that daughters don’t receive anything from the heritage, because they are expected to find a husband that will give them money. 

Even with the victories of the feminist movement, the statistics and reality keep pointing to a big difference and an alarming number of women living depending on their male partner. Inequality is still big, where women around the world are paid a third less than their male counterparts, leaving around 68% percent of millennial women living stressed and worried because they don’t have enough money to save for their retirement, and if they save, they worry because they are not going to have enough. (3)

Many of these women, looking for some relief, rely on men that promise to help and give them money, which offers a temporary solution that comes with great cost. Abusive men use money as one of their first weapons to gain emotional and psychological control over a woman (4). 

“I’m trapped in a relationship because I can’t afford to leave”.

The typical story goes like this: girl meets charming boy, he promises to solve all of her problems, he starts inviting her, paying for her stuff, bills, buying her presents, taking her on vacation… He’s too good to be true, until he shows the truth and it’s not good anymore.

This was the case of Mary (not her real name) that struggled most of her life with money, having just enough to live. When she met her husband, he was everything she ever wanted and more. He was prince charming, buying her gifts, taking her to the nicest places, places she could never ever go by herself. Very fast he told her she was the woman of his dreams and asked her to marry him. She was ecstatic and said yes. After the marriage, he started changing. He wasn’t as charming anymore.

He started being super jealous, paranoid, suspicious. He called her and texted her all the time and, if she didn’t reply within minutes, he would rage and accuse her of cheating. She would get very anxious and try to defend herself, trying to prove to him she was trustworthy and that she would not cheat on him. It wouldn’t matter. Soon enough, she was pregnant. He was still charming sometimes and told her to stop working, that he would take charge of everything for her and the baby, and that she could just focus on raising their child. She felt so happy and accepted. The accusations, harassment and abuse kept growing day by day, until Mary found herself living in a nightmare, threatened to be assassinated if he found out she cheated on him. She wanted to leave because she didn’t want to live like that, but he isolated herfrom everybody, took her to another country and she had no money to leave. Everything was controlled by him. She feared him. By the time she was finally able to escape, she was emotionally and psychologically destroyed. A shadow of her former self. She ended up asking for a restriction order, taking charge of her baby on her own and with post traumatic stress disorder and complex post traumatic stress disorder. She needs to be in therapy and she doesn’t know if she will ever be able to live without fear.

Is there anything that Mary would have done differently to not fall into this trap? Which is the common pattern in all abusive relationships. Probably not leaving herself to be dependent on a man and have her own resources in case something goes wrong. It can happen to anyone.

The only choice that women have today is to educate themselves in finances, regardless of their profession, to take their power back and change their own future. 

With the power of knowledge and the help of the technological tools available to us today, we women have a great opportunity to make history and end inequality and dependency, stopping those cycles of abuse and injustice that have been around for ages.

In a pacific way, women today have a big opportunity to take our power back without waiting for the government, or for anyone, to raise our salaries or create more equality. We can create it ourselves. 
With study, practice, dedication and consistency, it is possible to create that wealth and reclaim that freedom for ourselves, without fighting, without hating men or the government.

Have you ever felt like this? Trapped in a relationship, abusive or not, because you can’t afford to leave?
Do you feel powerless because your lack of resources lead you to get involved with the wrong people?
Having no money takes your power away.

Here Residual Queens believe in this power. We want to start building that community of empowered women that fought for their freedom and reclaimed it. 

It is our dream that, one day, it will be very rare to hear that a woman is stuck in an abusive relationship because she is financially  dependent on her partner.

We can thrive, not just survive.

1. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/03/09/975358112/nearly-1-in-3-women-experience-violence-landmark-report-from-who
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876290/
3. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/amp/ncna1055901
4. https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/financial-abuse/

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