Are you being financially bullied?

Financially bullying is a form of domestic violence but it's also something we often unknowningly do to ourselves. It's time to stop it.

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Bullying comes in all forms. It’s a power play where an aggressor likes to oppress another. It sadly happens in the classroom, the office, the home and with money.

If you’ve ever been bullied you’d know, like me, that even when a fire burns inside of you to put a stop to it, that it can sometimes take a long while before you are able to say to yourself “enough” and then hopefully walk away from it – for good.

There are far too many women who are victims of financial bullying by someone they know, and for the record this does also happen to men.

Financially bullying is a form of domestic violence which each year costs the economy $15.6 billion, according to the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (NCRVWC).

It’s estimated that 49 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women have experiencved some form of violence over the age of 15 years. For men, this violence was mostly at the hands of a stranger but for women it was by someone they knew, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The financial bullying of perfectly capable women starts when they hand over control of their own money-making to a spouse or even to their children. And with it goes their decisions around spending.

The other type of financial bullying is the type you do to yourself.

That’s when you feel guilty about spending, guilty about investing in yourself or even fearful that you are not smart enough to make your own financial decisions.

This financially bullying has to stop.

Not just because your money is your own money, but importantly because it is so pivotal to creating a sense of freedom and faith in your own ability or with help to achieve personal goals.

You can help put a stop to it by avoiding situations that limit your money knowledge and the control you have over your own money.

For instance, I know women, albeit in their 80s, who don’t even know how to use an ATM because their husband has always done it for them.

I know women in their 30s who don’t even know what their hubby earns or what assets they own as a family.

I know women in their 40s who are discouraged or prevented from re-joining the workforce after having children to make their own money because of financial bullying.

And I know women who will work until their late 70s to keep supporting older children who by choice simply won’t move out of home and indeed want the family home for themselves.

There are many examples. We all have them.

Let’s just call it for what it is and that’s financial bullying whether it’s you doing it to yourself or someone else.

It’s time to encourage all women to embrace their own money making abilities and control the way they want to spend it for their own futures.

If you need help, White Ribbon is a 24 hour service aimed at helping prevent domestic violence and WIRE in Victoria is just one service provider that is doing great things to help women.

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