Too often, we expect abuse victims to look a certain way:
Downtrodden, economically-dependent on their husbands, and submissive.
Abusers don't discriminate. So what do abuse victims look like?
Take a look out the window: women of all shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicities, and levels of education can be victims of abuse. There is no one abuse victim prototype.
Leslie, a successful doctor with multiple degrees, is a victim of her ex-husband's horrific abuse - and she's on the podcast sharing her story. Read the full transcript below and listen to the free BTR.ORG podcast for more.
Financially Successful Women Can Be Abuse Victims
I'm strong and independent; I run two hospitals, I've got six degrees. I'm not being abused.
Leslie, Member of the BTR.ORG Community
Financially independent women may have difficulty accepting that they are being abused. Because they are well-educated and respected in the workplace, the discrepancy with the way their abusive husband treats them at home may cause them to question reality and create a disconnect in their ability to identify as a victim.
Financial Abuse is Real For Financially Successful Women
Interestingly, financial abuse is a very sad reality for women who are breadwinners in their families. This form of financial abuse may occur when:
* The abuser refuses to work and/or contribute to family expenses.
* The abuser uses the victim's earnings to fund extravagant expenses and/or abusive expenses (dating apps, pornography, drugs, alcohol, etc).
* The abuser takes the victim's paychecks and diverts them to his account.
* The abuser demands a portion of the victim's paycheck and refuses to account for where the money goes.
* The abuser attempts to sabotage the victim's career.
* The abuser promises to earn an income but either cannot hold down a job or doesn't try to secure a job.
* The abuser forces the victim to be the breadwinner then makes her feel guilty for doing so.
* The abuser places an expectation that all expenses are the responsibility of the victim.
* The abuser is constantly resetting the time horizon as to when the financially playing field will be leveled.
* The abuser refuses to contribute to daily household tasks while the victim is working to support the family.
"But I Thought I Was Smart"
Many victims berate themselves for "allowing" themselves to be abused.
They say things like:
* "But I thought I was smart!"
* "How could I be so stupid?!"
* "I don't look like an abuse victim."
* "I don't deserve resources for abuse victims - I should be able to get myself out of this."
* "I was stupid enough to get into this, I need to get myself out of this."
Victims who have the capacity to earn a living can be extremely hard on themselves.
If you have experienced financial success, you are just as valid as any other victim of abuse - you deserve safety. You are entitled to every resource available to victims.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You