In the UK coastal town of Margate in Kent to mark Valentine’s Day, Banksy has taken a stand against domestic violence and coercive control with a new mural titled 'Valentine’s Day Mascara'.
The street art features a woman with a black eye and missing tooth who appears to have just disposed of her abusive husband inside a large chest freezer. Many have praised the elusive artist - who is famous for using his artwork to highlight social injustice and current affairs - for touching on violence in relationships and particularly for survivors and those in abusive relationships, where Valentine’s Day can be an extremely triggering time.
Domestic abuse takes many forms and does not always involve the use of physical violence. If a current or former partner has interfered with your finances or other economic resources in some way to limit your choices this may be economic abuse. Some abusers repeatedly dictate their partner’s choices and control their everyday actions, becoming violent or threatening to become violent if their demands are refused. This pattern of behaviour is a form of abuse known as coercive control. It is designed to intimidate, isolate and control the victim.
Many spouses who are on the brink of divorce have experienced some form of economic abuse during all or part of their marriage. It is not unusual to act for spouses who have been subjected to extremely controlling behaviour by their other half when it comes to their access to money and visibility of their overall financial position. This tends to worsen at the point of separation or divorce as the financially stronger spouse tries to punish the other, either for what they perceive to be the reason for the marriage ending or simply to seek to gain a financial advantage in the proceedings. The good news is that there is recourse through the family courts to address any interim challenges that spouses face during the divorce process. If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. Although it can be hard to identify, one in six UK adults have experienced economic abuse at some point. And more than ever before, there are people and organisations who understand and who can help.
In 2020, we partnered with the Founder of SEA, Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs and Founder of financial well-being consultancy The Dura Society, Lottie Leefe, to address the common signs of economic abuse, how to approach separation or divorce in these circumstances and provide some guidance to regaining financial independence in the form of a podcast. Follow the link to listen to the episode and discover further resources: https://www.boodlehatfield.com/articles/the-boodle-hatfield-podcast-economic-abuse-regaining-financial-independence/