Domestic abuse affects almost 2 million women annually, with 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic violence during their lifetime. While the statistics are disturbing already, new numbers have been released, shedding light on domestic violence among Hispanic women in particular.
The domestic abuse problem has been thrown into the spotlight after NFL players Ray Rice and Jonathan Dwyer have been involved in alleged domestic disputes.
According to a new survey from the Allstate Foundation, Hispanic women in the United States are bearing a huge burden of financial, emotional and physical domestic violence. Thirty percent report being victims of abuse, and more than 60 percent personally knew someone who was a victim of abuse. While physical abuse was the most common form of domestic abuse noted, Hispanic women also named financial abuse as a common concern.
“A lot of people can’t identify financial abuse – they always think the worst thing is being slapped around and they don’t understand the signs of the financial abuse that occurs in 98 percent of all cases of domestic violence,” the foundation’s director Patricia Lara Garza told EFE. “Domestic violence and financial abuse often go hand in hand, but almost eight out of every 10 Americans have never heard it said that financial abuse is an aspect of domestic violence.”
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) indicates financial abuse is a common tactic of abusers to gain control in a relationship. This form of domestic abuse can be subtle or overt, and can progress over time. Some women may even see financial abuse as helpful at first as they perceive their partner is simply trying to take financial stress from them.
“The short and long term effects of financial abuse can be devastating. In the short term, access to assets is imperative to staying safe. Without assets, survivors are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or the funds to provide for themselves or their children. With realistic fears of homelessness, it is little wonder that survivors sometimes return to the battering relationship,” states the NNEDV.
“For those who manage to escape the abuse and survive initially, they often face overwhelming odds in obtaining long term security and safety. Ruined credit scores, sporadic employment histories and legal issues caused by the battering make it extremely difficult to gain independence, safety and long term security.”
Garza told EFE in her interview Hispanic women indicate abusers typically have bad tempers, are domineering and often jealous. They watch over the finances with a magnifying lens and demand their significant others tell them where they are and what they are doing at all times.
Thankfully, Hispanic women are aware domestic abuse is an issue within their community, and they are making an effort to speak to their children about it. Almost 60 percent of Hispanic mothers discuss domestic violence with their children compared to approximately 40 percent of non-Hispanic white mothers.
“This is a problem that afflicts Hispanics, and survivors have to know that they’re not alone,” said Garza.
And while domestic violence is most common in women, 15 percent of cases feature male victims. Individuals who need help in a domestic abuse situation can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.