October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the The Fontaine Center’s RSVP Peer Educators at UGA have been busy hosting events to raise awareness around this issue and encourage their peers to be proactive in helping friends who may be in need. Click here for an event list and to find out how you can get involved!

Below is a note from one of the RSVP Peer Educators, Hannah Maddux, on a lesser-known aspect of domestic violence: Financial Abuse.

A common question that people leaving abusive relationships are asked is “why didn’t you just leave sooner?”. There are many factors that affect decisions to leave or not to leave, but in particular, financial abuse by a partner can be extremely difficult to overcome in cases of domestic violence.

Infographic Source: www.purplepurse.com

Domestic violence, often referred to as intimate partner violence, is characterized by violent acts and acts meant to manipulate and control the other person in the relationship. While domestic violence can occur in all types of relationships, the most common incidents involve men abusing women.

Financial abuse can happen slowly overtime when a partner starts to take control of more and more of the finances, or quickly if violence or blackmailing is threatened. The following are some common signs of financial abuse: complete control of finances and money, taking a woman’s pay and not allowing her to access it, and even forbidding a woman to work (White Ribbon Australia, 2018).

Infographic Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence

Escaping financial abuse may be difficult, but having an exit plan, filing for temporary support, creating an emergency fund, and establishing your own credit are excellent ways for those affected by domestic violence to leave. If you or someone you know is affected by relationship violence, you can get in contact with RSVP at 706-542-SAFE (7233).

The Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services (RSVP) office at the University of Georgia provides free and confidential services to those impacted by interpersonal violence. Whether you have been recently assaulted, know someone who has been affected by abuse, or are healing from past trauma, staff members at RSVP, located within the University Health Center, are here to support you. RSVP services are made possible by The Fontaine Center.

Written by: Hannah Maddux, RSVP Peer Educator