Financial violence, 49% of women experience it

smallinsidious, difficult to recognize, equally pervasive: the economic violence it is another form of violence that affects women. Understanding how to identify it is the first step to tackling it, and WeWorld’s research with IPSOS aims to highlight this. Here’s what came up

“What’s yours is mine. Tackling economic violence”: this is the title of the report published by WeWorld – an independent Italian organization engaged for more than 50 years in development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects in 27 countries, including Italy – on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The report aims to highlight one of the more subtle and less well-known forms of violence against womenfocusing on the results of the unpublished survey carried out by WeWorld with Ipsos to assess the perception of Italian men and women on violence against women and, in particular, on economic violence and direct experience.

What is economic violence and the results of the research

Once considered a form of emotional or psychological abuse, today it is economic violence is recognized as a distinct type of violence, referring to all behaviors to control a woman’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources. This type of violence is practiced above all within close and/or family relationships and often Financial violence is part of a wider cycle of intimate and/or family violence (physical, psychological, sexual).

The results of the report speak clearly: the 49% of the women surveyed state that they have suffered financial violence At least once in their lifetime, a figure that rises to 67% among separated or divorced women. more than 1 in 4 separated or divorced women (28%) say they have made financial decisions from their partner without consulting them first. However, economic violence is considered “very serious” by only 59% of citizens.

Even in cases of separation and divorce, financial violence continues to be committed: after the divorce, the 61% of women reports a worsening economic situation. The 37% of separated or divorced women declares that he will not receive the agreed amount of money for the care of his children. One separated or divorced woman in 4 has difficulty finding a job with a wage sufficient to support her.

“Behind the data collected in this research are real stories, voices of women who have suffered financial violence and want to tell. This is why we wanted to include testimonials from WeWorld Women’s Spaces in the exhibition. It follows from this that economic abuse has a cross-cutting nature, but that it mainly concerns people who suffer cumulative forms of discrimination: very old or very young women, with disabilities or with a migrant background,” he comments. Martina Albini, Coordinator of the WeWorld Study Center. “Economic violence, like all other types of violence, has very specific roots androcentric and patriarchal sociocultural systems that fuel power asymmetries. That’s why a cross-cutting approach is needed that can include direct interventions and stimulate collective awareness at all levels of society.”

Gender stereotypes, the roots of economic violence

Financial violence has cultural roots and develops in gender stereotypes according to which money remains taboo for women.

The consequences of this bias are reflected in today’s society and, as the report shows, the percentage of women who feel unprepared for financial matters is more than twice that of men (10% versus 4%). The work to be done is long and uphill: almost 9 in 10 Italians (88%) say economic and financial education programs should be introduced starting in primary and secondary school.

But this is not enough: early interventions and prevention are needed. Thanks to the experience gained in ten years of intervention in support of women and their rights, WeWorld has developed a series of proposals to combat economic violence, including, in addition, the introduction of compulsory sexual-emotional and financial-economic education curricula in schoolsalso awareness campaigns multi-channel and addressed to the general public who identifies the phenomenon and its particularities. the adoption of a common definition of economic violence which determines their behavior e.g greater and structural funding for freedom income (financial support for women trying to escape situations of violence and in poverty) embedded in more robust and inclusive housing and employment policies.

The dimensions in which we must act

The dimensions on which we need to act are cross-cutting, for such are experiences of economic violence that can be particularly complex and multifaceted depending on the context in which they occur: for example, perpetrators of violence can engage in culturally significant abusive behavior in the global North or South.

The main types of economic violence identified from the relevant data are divided into:

  • Auditing: The perpetrator of violence prevents, limits or controls the use of the victim’s economic and financial resources and decision-making power. This includes, among other things, asking the victim questions about how they spent the money. prevent the victim from having or accessing sole control of a bank account or shared account; monitor the victim’s spending through a bank account; expect to give the victim their authorization before any expenditure.
  • Economic exploitation: The perpetrator of violence uses the financial and economic resources of the victim to his advantage. For example, stealing the victim’s money, property or assets. forcing the victim to work more than necessary (longer hours, multiple tasks, including caregiving, etc.) relegating the victim to domestic work only.
  • Economic sabotage: The perpetrator of violence prevents the victim from finding, obtaining or maintaining a job and/or an educational path by, for example, destroying the victim’s belongings necessary for work or study (such as clothes, computers, books, other equipment, etc. ) not taking care of children or other household needs that prevent the victim from working and/or studying; adopting abusive behavior in the face of the victim’s important work or study appointments.

Prevention, recognition, intervention: these are the guidelines followed by WeWorld and IPSOS report. A targeted action strategy that cannot be delayed: economic violence is violence.

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