College Relationships and Financial Abuse
By Sara Forcella, See the Triumph Contributor
Financial abuse is one form of abuse that is rarely talked about and is less understood than other types of abuse. This especially holds true for the college population. Financial abuse occurs when one partner uses abuse tactics to maintain power and control over their partner. Some pretty common forms of financial abuse include things such as controlling where and when your partner takes a job, not allowing your partner to work, not allowing your partner to have control over their own income, or hiding or keeping money from your partner.
Students who find themselves in financially abusive relationships during college may be dealing with some similar, yet specific forms of this abuse. Many students rely on financial aid to not only help them pay for classes, but afford things like meals, toiletries, and clothing. Financial aid monetary funds can be used to easily maintain power over a partner. Stealing a partner’s financial aid check, or limiting what they are allowed to use that financial aid on is certainly a form of abuse. Partners may also use their financial aid package as a way to ensure that their partner does not leave the relationship.
Things like student ID’s make it easy for abusers to purchase food and other items using their partner's money. They may also use ID cards as a way to monitor and dictate the amount of money that their partner is able to use. For instance, an abuser may maintain control over a student’s access to their online ID Card account, giving them the ability to add money to that card when they chose.
Students from varying backgrounds may also face financial abuse if their partners use their own financial privilege over their partner. Making your partner feel bad because they are unable to afford things such as off-campus meals, weekend getaways, and athletic games can also be a form of abuse.
Just like physical or emotional abuse, abuse is abuse, and it is never okay. Students who are dealing with financial abuse may consider reaching out to an on-campus office for help, such as a Women’s Center, Counseling Center, Campus Police, or the Office of Student Conduct.
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