Women are being prevented from fleeing abusive situations through financial exploitation.
The Implication of Inflation
Chances are, no matter where you are living in the world, you have felt the effects of inflation. From groceries to interest rates, petrol to utility bills, everything is getting more expensive. You have likely been impacted in one or more of these areas. U.S. gas prices were at an all-time high this summer and energy prices are still raised way above average across Europe. Inflation this year in wealthy countries is at 6% while inflation rates in poorer countries are at 9%.
In wealthy countries, the effects of inflation are felt less as they have more options available to them. People living in well-off countries can choose to buy cheaper options, whereas people in developing countries do not have that luxury. For example, in Kenya, the cost of maize flour (one option to buy only), the main staple in the country, doubled in price in June rising by 50%.
The social programs available in more developed nations act as a safety net, catching the people that fall between the cracks. There are no such programs in developing nations, if you can’t afford food or rent, you may just go hungry with nowhere to call home.
The economic crisis has had a particularly negative effect on women. For some women, the state of the financial world is the difference between life and death. Lack of economic safety drives women to stay in abusive relationships much longer than they should.
What is Economic Abuse?
Economic abuse occurs when a person exploits, restricts, and/or sabotages another person's economic independence and resources. This kind of abuse predominantly affects women and it can prevent them from leaving unhealthy living situations, starting a new life, and leading successful lives long after they have left an abusive relationship.
Women’s Aid, a UK grassroots federation working to give life-saving aid to women who have survived domestic abuse, carried out a survey that showed just how inflation has affected survivors of domestic abuse. A staggering two-thirds or 66% of domestic abuse survivors shared that their abusers were using the increased cost of living to manipulate them and justify restricting survivors' access to money.
More specifically economic abuse can range from controlling access to bank accounts, and preventing women from working and using victims' money without permission. As money makes the world go around, having control of someone’s money or ability to make it means having control over them.
Statistics Don’t Lie
The study done by women’s aid also states “heartbreakingly, survivors said they were prevented from fleeing by the stark reality of not being able to support their children (50%), getting into debt (52%), or concerns that benefits wouldn’t cover increased living costs (48%)”.
As said previously, inflation is felt more intensely in developing nations one can only imagine what this means for women living there. Additionally, women living in developing nations statistically have much larger families. This creates a heavy financial burden.
Ways You Can Help
In this current financial climate, it is imperative that we find ways to support women in abusive relationships here in the U.S and worldwide. Programs like LIFE’s family assistance program offer financial aid that many women so desperately need to get back on their feet. With a one-time or recurring gift, you can give a woman and her family the chance at a brighter tomorrow. Supporting your local women's shelter will give a woman refuge after the storm of toxic abusive relationships. Petitioning the government to add more programs for women who have left abusive relationships like emergency support funds for survivors and discounts on living expenses will also be of great benefit. Poverty is the root of all evil and we have a chance to aid in the fight against it. Let’s work to protect women during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.
If you are someone experiencing abuse please call the national American hotline for domestic abuse at 1-(800)799-SAFE (7233).