Many people think that domestic violence is easier to deal with when you are wealthy. But, the fact is that the affluent have a whole set of issues unique to their elevated socioeconomic status that makes dealing with domestic abuse even more difficult.
How is it for the rich battered woman?
When they break their silence, a roar breaks out shoving them right back into hiding. People doubt that they are actually abused. “How can that be?” they hear, “Your husband is a pillar in the community.”
He can be a doctor, a lawyer, a politician, your community’s own clergy… If he serves in these caring/healing/protective positions, how in the world can he be an abuser? This dichotomy confuses outsiders looking in on affluent domestic abuse.
As an aside, it evens confuses Google. Try doing a Google search on domestic violence and wealth or money or affluent. These words connoting an upscale socioeconomic status cannot be found in combination with the term “domestic violence” (at least not at the time of this writing).
2) No Empathy
People withhold empathy for the circumstances of wealthy battered women. “You go on exotic vacations, live in a nice house, have your pick of the season’s best…”
The implication here is that you should “turn the check” with respect to you being slapped around and enjoy your wealth. It says that the lifestyle is the “price” for putting up with being battered.
3) False Claims and Re-victimization
When affluent battered women reach out to social services for help, the potential for the abuse they endure increases exponentially. She can become buried in the play-offs sponsored by the payoffs of their manipulating abusive partners.
Abusers are known for their ability to manipulate healthcare providers and law enforcement to establish false claims about their victims. It’s their way of discrediting the domestic violence survivor, and ultimately saving face by casting off any responsibility for alleged or documented domestic abuse.
4) Empty Legal War Chest
When they go to divorce court, all hell can break lose. They can be buried in pleading upon pleading characteristic of legal stalking in high profile divorce cases.
Oftentimes, these battered women stand in family court pro se’ representing themselves against their battering partner’s team of legal counsel. They may even have a list of divorce attorneys left in their wake once payment could not be forthcoming.
You see, most of the so-called affluent battered women have no control over the family money. So, when the chase is on to break the cycle of abuse, the financial spigot is turned off. And they remain at the mercy of their partner’s financial war chest-the resources defining their upscale status in the first place.
Then, when they try to draw from the same resources available to their less “financially empowered” counterparts, it doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, “affluent” battered women reaching out to the public system for legal aid can be told, “We can’t help you because your needs for legal assistance will exceed our entire annual budget.”
5) The Heinous Crimes
Sadly, these are the domestic violence divorce cases wherein battered mothers may lose contact with their minor children, or get token contact via supervised visitation. These are the domestic violence survivors that fall through the cracks of the legal system-becoming childless, homeless, and penniless.
These are the brave women who thought they had it easier, as did everyone else, because of their wealth. And then, they recognize their challenges in breaking free ultimately can leave them re-victimized by their partner’s use of the family money.
If you are a battered woman of wealth, be mindful of the challenges before you. And be prepared to deal with each and every one of them as you campaign for your breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.