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"I Will Not Give Money": How Economic Violence Affects Women
"I Will Not Give Money": How Economic Violence Affects Women

Domestic violence is commonly associated with beatings. But there are other manifestations of it, no less dangerous. What - explains our columnist Ekaterina Popova.

"I Will Not Give Money": How Economic Violence Affects Women

Recently, the topic of domestic violence has been in the spotlight of the media and the public. The media regularly features stories of women who have encountered abusers. More than 900 thousand people signed the petition for the adoption of the law on the prevention of domestic violence.

In 2016, the first legislative innovation was introduced to the State Duma, and in 2019 - the second, on which the Federation Council worked. Unfortunately, it turned out to be completely useless, including due to the fact that the typology of the types of violence disappeared from the document.

The first version of the bill described all types of domestic abuse: physical, psychological, sexual and economic. The mention of the latter caused a wide resonance - primarily among parents.

A wave of panic comments swept across social networks: children will be taken away from us if we refuse to fulfill their whims - to buy smartphones, expensive clothes and junk food! In the public mind, economic violence is strongly associated with any refusal to spend money on the wishes of family members, but it certainly is not.

What is Economic Violence?

In a broad sense, economic violence is a form of control when one family member has complete financial power over the others and uses it to their advantage. The key word is “friends”: that is, he does not just manage the family budget, but turns it into an instrument of manipulation.

Financial leverage can be used for anything, from extortion of sex (“Get a blow job, I’ll give money for pads”) to coercion into important life decisions (“If you want me to support you during your studies, go to medical school, not this your art history ").

In Russia, the statistics of domestic violence are deplorable. Its scope can only be judged by surveys: since the phrase “Beatings against family members and other close persons” disappeared from the legal field, it is difficult to single out cases of domestic abuse in the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Not surprisingly, the scale of economic violence is all the more difficult to assess.


The results of one of the few studies presented at a conference at the Lomonosov Moscow State University showed that 40% of men believe that a husband who supports his wife has power over her and can, for example, prohibit a woman from working. 55% of women have happened to ask their spouse for money, while 10% (every tenth!) Have to do it all the time, 20% - from time to time.

Stay at home with your children, I will provide

Why is this happening? The first reason is discrimination against women in the labor market: a study by the analytical center NAFI shows that in Russia, with the same qualifications, women's wages are 27% lower than men's.

If the husband and wife are employed in different spheres, then the gap can acquire colossal proportions: for example, according to T-Zh, the average salary of a teacher (a typical “female” profession) in the Moscow region is 31.7 thousand rubles, a web programmer (IT is traditionally considered "male") according to HH.RU - from 170 thousand rubles.

According to the study “Violence against Wives in Russian Families,” the situation of girls whose incomes are lower than those of their husbands is worse than those of those whose earnings are higher: they have to ask their spouses for money more often, and among them there are more women who are victims of economic threats and insults. Researchers attribute this to the fact that "women's" money is considered "family", and "men's" - as "personal".

In other words, a woman's salary usually covers the current needs of the family: utility bills and the purchase of a product. When it comes to other spending, wives have to turn to their husbands for help, and they can only rely on the goodwill of their “other half”. The psychological effect also works - a man who perceives himself as the “main earner” decides: whoever brings more money to the house is at the helm of the family boat.

There is another danger of the difference in income: men often persuade their wives to give up work for a “penny” salary, and after that they begin to single-handedly manage the family money.

The second reason is parental leave, which in the overwhelming majority of cases is taken by the mother. Specialists working with victims of domestic violence say the decree is the main trigger for domestic abusers: men, realizing that a woman is not going anywhere, begin to use their power and impunity.

Host - master


The biggest problem with economic violence is its invisibility. A financially dependent woman is often isolated: no one knows what she eats, what she is wearing, whether she and her child have the necessary medications, she herself chose a “career” as a housewife, or her husband announced that he would not pay a nanny who would allow the woman to return to work.

However, a quite prosperous-looking girl, who often appears in public, can also be a victim of financial abuse. Branded clothing and a top-end smartphone may well be combined with an empty wallet, the absence of your own bank card and the need to negotiate even the purchase of paracetamol during a cold.

The second difficulty is associated with the loyal attitude of society towards economic pressure. Often, even people who oppose the law on the prevention of domestic violence admit that assault is evil, and explain that the document is not accepted, only fearing that the new norms will create grounds for abuse. Financial control is perceived very differently.

A person who earns money is recognized as having the full right to dispose of it. Refusal of any expenses is explained by the prudence and frugality of the "owner". Don't want to hire a nanny? There is no point in leaving the child with someone else's aunt with a living mother. Doesn't give money for baby food? Homemade is healthier. Did you take out a new loan without consulting your wife? He just knows better about financial matters and does not need advice from a woman far from this topic.

In the eyes of modern Russians, economic dependence does not look like an abuse, but a tradition. More than 70% of survey respondents say: a woman's mission is to be a mother and a good housewife. A man who forces his wife to play only these roles is rarely perceived negatively. They would rather treat him as a person fulfilling an unspoken social contract: dad works, mom is beautiful.

50 shades of economic violence

This attitude towards economic violence leads to the fact that women often do not notice that they are living with a financial abuser. There is an image of a “spherical in a vacuum” victim: a girl in leaky clothes and leaky shoes, begging for a penny for every crust of bread. A woman who doesn't match him will think that she has a great husband - just a little frugal.

In fact, there are dozens of manifestations of economic violence, which have one common feature - the complete loss of control of the victim over the family budget. For example, another shade of abuse will be an account in the name of a man, where all the family's money is accumulated: even if a woman has access to it, it can be closed within five minutes.

Loans taken without the consent or secretly from the wife can be classified as economic violence, since the spouses are liable for debt obligations in equal shares.Another form of financial abuse is the refusal to pay alimony, which clearly shows the scale of the problem in Russia, where the debt of negligent fathers has exceeded 150 billion rubles.

You can't leave to stay


If people assess the consequences of physical violence negatively, then the economic situation is more complicated. Need to ask your husband for money? And what's the big deal? Come and say: "Honey, I need N rubles for boots and a child for diapers." Argument the need for expenses - and the spouse will not refuse. Spend no more than a minute - that's the whole difference between your own and "man's" money.

However, many women who have experienced economic violence and tell researchers about it explain that requests are accompanied by shame and fear. Often they simply do not start a conversation: it is easier to deny themselves something than to explain their needs and answer numerous questions about the expediency of spending. “What is Agusha? What about the blender? How are you running out of time? What are you doing at home all day?"

In their writings on victimology, scholars explain that economic violence seriously affects women's behavior. Prolonged being in a situation of abuse leads to the fact that their ability to make decisions concerning both their own and the lives of their children is reduced. No wonder: any skill is forgotten if not used. Deprive a person of independence and the need to regularly make choices - and he will forget how to do it.

There is one more important nuance: as a rule, economic abuse is associated with physical abuse and precedes it. Before raising a hand against a woman, it is necessary to deprive her of financial independence - only then the aggressor will receive guarantees that the victim will not go anywhere. According to the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion, women with little or no income are more likely to be physically abused. The least likely to encounter beatings are girls who characterize their education as prestigious and their profession as status.

Difficulties also appear with the opposition to the abuser: it is much more difficult to break out of the relationship in the case of financial dependence. Each step of the gap (and even more so, escape) is associated with money: you need to rent an apartment, set aside funds while looking for a job, buy new things, if it is impossible to pick up the old ones, the help of qualified lawyers is often needed. This requires tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of rubles.

Economic dependence is the glue that binds a bird's claw before the cat devours it whole. And therefore, every woman needs to know about financial violence and its forms.

The methods of confrontation are also obvious: you need to have your own money and other tangible assets and maintain control over them. Do not give up personal earnings, even if the husband can provide for the family. Do not sell an apartment bought before marriage in order to acquire a common one. Understand when both spouses exercise control over the family budget, and when the husband only allows him to participate in this, having the ability to block access to money at any time.

But even when these tips are objectively doable, social attitudes prevent them from being followed. It is understood that after the registry office everything becomes collective farm: you cannot take care of your "odnushka" if it can become a springboard to a common spacious "three-ruble note". The formation of their own savings is condemned: they reduce the family budget. Support for her husband's risky initiatives is approved: let him take a loan and build an ostrich farm, your task is to praise and inspire, this is the only way that managers of the trading floor become billionaires.

And, of course, the Greek choir reappears on the stage with a classical aria: "But what about love and trust?" The entertainer, who comes out between the verses, explains that the "reinsurers" themselves bring men to abuse, because such disrespect will turn even the nicest guy into a monster.But reasoning in this way is like thinking: a person who walks around a construction site in a helmet provokes masons to erect walls that will collapse on his head.

In modern Russia, there are no laws protecting even victims of constant beatings; there is even no need to talk about economic violence. And therefore women have only one thing to do - to carry out "prevention" on their own. Invest in education and career and remember that only they can become protection in a situation of financial abuse and the best stone wall is the one that you can build yourself.

If you want to know more about domestic violence in Russia, read why women don't talk about it, what is wrong with the second version of the domestic violence prevention law, and how to talk about domestic violence to stop it.

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