Financial Abuse: A Reflection on Gender, Power Dynamics, and Societal Structures

Sacha | Thoughts
5 min readSep 9, 2023
Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

Financial abuse is a silent yet powerful tool of control, often eluding detection while enmeshing its victims in invisible chains.

This nefarious form of control, subtly manifesting within the confines of relationships, often targets the already economically vulnerable, trapping them in cycles of dependency.

Examining the issue within the broader socio-economic framework reveals how deeply it intersects with the power dynamics of gender too, and how it’s perpetuated by societal and institutional apparatuses.

Central to understanding financial abuse is recognising its prevalence against women.

While instances of men facing financial abuse are real and troubling, a review of global statistics and sociological patterns underscores that women, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are disproportionately affected.

This isn’t just a coincidence; rather, it is a manifestation of deeply rooted structural gender disparities.

Historically, many societies have been constructed on patriarchal norms.

Men, typically, were positioned as breadwinners, controllers of assets and key decision-makers. Women, in turn, were generally relegated to roles of domesticity, resulting in an economic dependency that made them vulnerable to financial coercion.

This archetype, although increasingly challenged, persists subtly (and often still less than subtly) in many contemporary societies.

In countries like India, for example, women’s access to property, despite legal rights, remains constrained by societal norms and familial pressures.

In the United States, a recent survey indicated that nearly half of heterosexual women with a partner delegate important financial decisions to their male counterparts.

Such systems, while varying in intensity and form across regions, underscore a pattern: institutional constructs often align with male economic dominance, creating environments conducive to financial abuse.

The entrenchment of this issue, therefore, doesn’t just reside in individual acts, but in the broader sphere of…

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Sacha | Thoughts

Sociologist and writer focused on analysing societal power dynamics and promoting positive social change