Domestic Violence & Financial Abuse: Radio Program - Coral Anika Theill and Heather Stark
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & FINANCIAL ABUSE:
Interview airs August 12, 2017 at 11:00 am Pacific Time.
FINANCIAL ABUSE: ONE WOMAN’S STORY
When most people hear the words “domestic violence,” they think of broken bones and bruises. Some people are aware that intimate partner abuse comes in many forms, from verbally degrading a partner, to isolation, to all kinds of control. One of those forms of control is financial abuse.
Unless you have experienced financial abuse and control, it is really hard to grasp the impact of it. Controllers control, and they can interfere with a woman’s ability to get to work, or look for a job, or interfere with her employer or work performance until she gets fired. Sometimes abusers apply for credit cards in the victim’s name without their knowing about it; sometimes they run up huge debts, or cancel accounts or credit cards without telling the victim. And often that control continues after divorce, after kids grow up, and even when the victim has no money to gain control over.
That’s what happened with Coral Anika Theill, author of “BONSHEÁ Making Light of the Dark” which has been used as a college text. She has also worked as contributing writer for Leatherneck Magazine and Short Rations for Marines. Her October 2011 Leatherneck Magazine article, "Invisible Battle Scars: Confronting the Stigma Associated with PTS & TBI," is cited in the U.S. Army War College "Psychological Health Notes." She is a recipient of the Lester Granger Award from the National Montford Point Marine Association and a Writer's Award from iUniverse Publishing Company.
Join us as Coral tells us her story of abuse during her marriage and her continued financial abuse after her divorce. Airing for the first time Saturday, August 12 at 11 AM Pacific Time. Then available anytime on the archive at
When most people think about domestic violence, they probably think of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, but less well-known is how partners can use financial means to abuse and terrorize their partners.
FINANCIAL ABUSE: Financial abuse include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse along with emotional, physical and sexual abuse, manipulation, intimidation and threats are all intentional tactics used by an abuser aimed at entrapping the partner in the relationship. In some abusive relationships, financial abuse is present throughout the relationship and in other cases financial abuse becomes present when the survivor is attempting to leave or has left the relationship.
*NOTE from author & advocate Coral Anika Theill. The cost of seeking safety is TOO HIGH for tens of thousands of protective mothers. We lost custody and often contact with our precious children. Our abusers use the Family Court system to legally stalk us, often for the rest of our lives. Many of us will end up homeless. I lost custody of my eight children, including my nursing infant in 1996 when I sought safety and a divorce. My ex-husband has legally stalked me for 20 years - 45 court hearings to date, including the Oregon Court of Appeals and has sued me for twice of what I earn as a disabled woman.
I lived out of my car for three years due to ongoing court trauma and abuse.
My passport has been revoked due to a fraudulent child support judgment. Due to back child support I have been threatened with jail time as well as my driver's license being revoked. The State of Oregon will begin garnishing my under poverty wages soon to pay my wealthy ex-husband. The garnishment is 15% - my total food budget. Since seeking safety in 1996 court fees, attorney fees, travel and loss of work has cost nearly $250,000.
I attempted to go back to college while I was homeless in 2004 to improve my life. After two terms, I had to drop out due to representing myself in court in an Oregon State of Appeals case my ex and his attorneys initiated. Legal Aid does not assist battered women in divorce, child custody and/or child support issues. I have represented myself in court for the past 19 years. In 2004 my ex husband attempted to sue me for another $50,000 for child support while I was living out of my car, fully disabled and destitute. He is a wealthy engineer with a debt free estate worth over 1/2 million dollars.
Perpetrators and rapists sue their victims. It is not about the money - it is about CONTROL and ownership. The church and my ex-husband's family members have fully supported my abuser these past 20 years.
Many mothers who seek safety from abuse are routinely prohibited from having even the most basic contact with their own children, not because they were unfit parents, but because they were outspent, out represented, and out-maneuvered in a court atmosphere that seems to favor those who inflict domestic violence.
Battered women may lose their babies and children, their homes, their friends and their livelihood. Survivors of childhood abuse will often even lose their families. Rarely does society recognize the dimensions and long lasting effects of this reality for the victim.
Financial abuse, while less commonly understood, is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes her ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive relationship. Research indicates that financial abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but relationships and surveys of survivors reflect that concerns over their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children was one of the top reason for staying in or returning to a battering relationship. As with all forms of abuse, it occurs across all socio-economic, educational and racial and ethnic groups.
In other cases, the financial abuse may be much more overt. Batterers commonly use violence or threats of violence and intimidation to keep the victim from working or having access to the family funds. Whether subtle or overt, there are common methods that batterers use to gain financial control over their partner. These include:
•Forbidding the victim to work •Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews •Controlling how all of the money is spent •Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts •Withholding money or giving “an allowance” •Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions •Forbidding the victim from attending job training or advancement opportunities •Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns •Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts, taking bad credit loans •Refusing to work or contribute to the family income •Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine •Hiding assets •Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance •Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay •Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score •Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits” •Filing false insurance claims •Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets
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.
"The price for my own safety and freedom in 1996 was an imposed, unnatural and unwanted separation from my eight children, including my nursing infant. The injustice committed against me is not just the physical separation from my children, but the willful desecration of the mother-child relationship and bond, a sacred spiritual and emotional entity.
"I have spent long hours trying to make some sense of my life and have come to the conclusion that when horror overcomes us the only response possible is to remember what happened and tell the story." - Coral Anika Theill, Bonshea Making Light of the Dark
"I choose to not participate in the silence that protects perpetrators and isolates survivors.
"A victim's first scream is for help; a victim's second scream is for justice." - Coral Anika Theill, Seasoned Resistance Fighter
Coral Anika Theill Author, Advocate, Speaker & Reporter Alienated & Erased Mother of 8 D.V., Rape & Ritual Abuse Victim/Survivor Memoir: Bonshea Making Light of the Dark Website: www .coralanikatheill.com