Post Title: Domestic violence carries financial costs for victims

A new report by the Borough of Manhattan has revealed that domestic violence not only harms its victims physically and emotionally, but financially as well. These women are frequently taken advantage of financially by their abusive spouse, so by the time the marriage or relationship ends, they are in debt and are left without the resources to pay off what is owed. The report found that the problem was especially prevalent among immigrant women, who are unfamiliar with the country and do not have a network of support. The report also found that embarrassment and fear of trouble from immigration authorities were the biggest reasons why the immigrant women did not report the domestic violence. The report was compiled from 27 service providers with a client list of about 25,000 people, and the agencies reported that 25 percent of their clients were in debt due to the actions of the abusive husband.

Some of the stories from the women are heartbreaking. One immigrant woman from Bangladesh was beaten for years by her husband, who denied her access to even a telephone. When he finally left her, she discovered that she was over $100,000 in debt due to a form that he had forced her to sign. She was sued by three creditors and lost one case after a court order was accidentally sent to her old address. Another woman from Mexico discovered that her abusive husband had stolen $2,000 that she had saved for her children’s college education.

The stories of these women illustrate the incredible hardships faced by battered women. They must face whatever financial hardship comes about as a result of the abusive relationship, in addition to the physical and emotional trauma involved. For these women, the fallout from the relationship is a never-ending stream of sorrow.

Fortunately, in this country any woman involved in an abusive relationship is entitled to legal redress. She can pursue a temporary restraining order against the husband or boyfriend to protect not only herself, but also any children involved. She can also report the abuser to the police so that prosecutors can file criminal charges against the abuser. The problem of domestic violence is one that can be solved if the battered woman is willing to take action against the perpetrator.

Source: New York Daily News, “Heavy Price of Domestic Abuse: Victims not only Beaten but also Left in Debt by Their Tormentors,” Erica Pearson, Oct. 2, 2012.