Financial violence against women: “It’s also unfair to put all the responsibility on men”

When partners abuse their financial dependence, they commit violence. He still mainly meets women. In an interview, Nataschawegelin explains why not wanting to deal with finances is fatal and how couples can compensate for financial difficulties.

ntv.de: When people use physical violence, they strike. Financial violence can also occur, especially in a couple relationship. Where does this form begin?

Nataschawegelin: Financial violence occurs whenever dependence on money is abused. It is therefore a form of abuse of power. Financial dependence can be fine for both parties if, for example, the partners agree that one stays at home and the other takes care of the children. This type of teamwork is not inherently bad. However, once the partner takes advantage of this dependence, financial violence occurs.

How can this be prevented?

Nataschawegelin is the founder and CEO of Madame Moneypenny GmbH.

So that you are not financially dependent on your partner, I advise everyone to have their own account. If a couple decides to have a joint account, they must both have access to it. If this is not the case and someone is denied access, this is a form of exploitation. This is where dependency is abused. But it is also about financial violence, for example when the partner intercepts letters from the tax office, hides other income or the husband no longer pays alimony to his ex-wife. For example, the solution might be not to give up your own account and work, even if it doesn’t make financial sense for the family at first glance. Just keep paying into the pension fund.

Who is most likely to experience financial violence?

There are almost no studies and statistics on this topic. In order for someone to abuse their power, they must first have more power than their partner. And in our system it is more often a man than a woman. A single mother who waits for child support every month is the most vulnerable to financial violence. One of the few studies that deals with the topic showed that about 94 percent of those suspected of violating the maintenance obligation in 2021 are men and 6 percent are women.

Is financial violence always done knowingly?

On the one hand, there are certainly couples who do not realize that financial violence is occurring in their relationship. For example, it is completely normal for her that a man takes care of finances and a woman does not have her own account. Some of them may simply lack financial knowledge. I want to believe that no one intentionally commits financial violence. But if we define financial violence as dependence being intentionally abused, then an egalitarian economy is not desirable. If a man denies his wife access to a joint account and pays her pocket money instead, then he has no interest in equality

Violence is a strong word. Is the term correct?

I think yes. Injustice against women is often trivialized through language. There is also talk of “violence against women” or “domestic violence”. The male perpetrators are not even named here. That’s why I think the harsh term “financial violence” is much better than “financial injustice”. When someone is exploited and has no chance to break free, that is violence

Are the disabled aware that violence is being perpetrated against them?

I think this is where the problem lies. Many of those affected do not even realize that injustice is happening to them. I fear that some women allow themselves to be manipulated too much and don’t stand up for themselves enough. At the same time, they are clearly victims and should not be convinced that it is their own fault.

Are younger women immune to financial violence than older women?

A very traditional division of roles, as modeled for us by our parents and grandparents, certainly plays a role in financial violence. If dependence on money cannot be avoided at all, women should at least protect themselves legally and watertight through a marriage or partnership agreement.

Many women say they don’t want to worry about finances at all.

This is an absolute denial of responsibility. It is not enough for one person in a relationship to take care of the finances. I would like to appeal to all women: it is your responsibility. They are independent people. There is certainly a lot of fear in this attitude of denial. But men are not naturally more qualified. You are not born with an innate financial gene. It is also unfair to give men full responsibility. Keeping track of all your finances is a pretty big responsibility.

What role does financial education play? Now there are more and more offers aimed specifically at women.

Financial education is clearly the way out of financial violence. However, if the mother’s ex-partner has not paid child support for five months, the first step is probably to see a lawyer. Even the financial book is useless. Without an existential threat, financial education is of course extremely useful to stand on your own two feet. Special offers for women in particular are a good place to start overcoming addiction: through my own account, through my own assets, through my own pension insurance and through the registration of my name in the land registry.

How can couples compensate for financial difficulties?

Ideally, a woman has property in her name. In addition, the three-account model can ensure transparency. This model means that the income or parental allowance ends up in a joint account. Rent, groceries or vacations are paid from this account. What is left over is divided equally between the individual accounts. This money is then freely available to everyone. If a couple is interested in building a relationship on equal terms, then it is clear to me.

Juliane Kipper spoke with Nataschawegelin

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