Here in my home state a recent Commission on Family Violence study reflects the number of deaths related to domestic violence is up nearly 33% over last year’s totals, and those figures are only through September. According to a number of counselors, and those running shelters for victims of domestic violence, it seems a weakening economy leads to more incidents of violence against domestic partners. Just a couple weeks ago a neighboring community was rocked by a murder-suicide in a quiet, affluent neighborhood, and the authorities suspect financial troubles were a motivating factor.
Economic Stress Leads To Violence
The classic case of domestic violence typically involves violence against women committed by a male partner. Of course, this is not always the case, and there are many different forms of domestic abuse. In a struggling economy where it is getting tougher to make ends meet, and where many breadwinners are concerned over job stability, the pressure can lead to domestic violence in the home. The recent report is a good reminder that in tough times we should be holding each other close, not pushing each other away.
It is normal for couples to have different opinions on how to manage their finances. For instance, one partner is usually a “spender” while the other is a “saver.” However, in lean times you have to find some common ground with your spouse, whether it be for basic survival or figuring how to maximize your earnings and stretch your dollars further than you ever have before. The bottom line is it takes teamwork, and both partners have to be on the same page.
As Budgets Grow Tighter, Victims Have Less Financial Means to Get Away
With savings dwindling and monthly expenses going up, victims of domestic violence often lack the financial resources to flee their abusers. This is particularly true in cases of a single income households where only one partner controls the checkbook, and the other is unable to accumulate money to flee. Fortunately, there are shelters in many areas that will take in victims of domestic violence, and their children, but even their resources are strained due to a drop in donations during economic downturns.
Seek Help, Before It Is Too Late
If you are struggling financially, and feeling the pressure build, find someone you trust to talk to–either a professional or just a good friend. Sometimes it helps to have this “sounding board” to vent frustrations, without taking them all home to your spouse. If you and your spouse are fighting over money, consider attending marriage and/or financial counseling so an objective third party can help you work through the various issues in your relationship. If you are currently in an abusive relationship, please seek help immediately from a friend or family member, a shelter, or even law enforcement, if necessary. Domestic violence is not something to be taken lightly, and as the statistics referenced above show, many times the violence escalates over time and ends in tragedy.