Image: feministing.com

Hollywood star actress, Kerry Washington has highlighted money as another major reason why women who face domestic abuse remain in the relationship.

People who have never experienced domestic abuse often find it hard to understand why someone doesn’t leave at the first sign of ‘trouble’ – the first physical incident or sign of controlling behaviour.

But emotional manipulation is more complicated than most film and TV representations would have you believe, often building up over time and not being restricted to physical violence.

In 2015, this was officially recognised in the UK, with a new law introduced to specifically target psychological and emotional torment – recognising repeated “controlling or coercive behaviour” as potentially just as harmful as physical abuse.

Washington, working with the AllState Purple Purse campaign, took part in a panel at the Forbes Women Summit last week, and said it’s important women are taught to handle themselves financially, saying: “Not having information is how we’re disempowered.”

“A lot of times we say, ‘Why does she stay? Why do they stay?’ We know from our work that the number one reason people stay is because they don’t feel like they have the tools to go,” she told refinery29.com.

“And all of us, rather than shaming and blaming, can use our resources to lend a hand to people who don’t have access to that information to be able to transform their lives.”

Financial abuse can include having bank accounts and credit cards controlled by an abuser, having spending scrutinised, being prevented from working too much or at all, and being forced to be dependent on the abuser for money.

Author: Yemi Olarinre