Shanice always tried to justify how her partner treated her. She made excuses for him, ultimately putting it down to: ‘he loves me’.
What she didn’t realise at the time, though, seems crystal clear now.
Shanice was the victim of coercive control. From financial to emotional abuse, the father of her two children was manipulative, masked by his ostensible love.
Coercive control is the foundational element of domestic abuse. It happens when the perpetrator uses a deliberate pattern of behaviours for the purpose of exerting and maintaining control over their victim. Unlike physical abuse, it’s not always easy to identify. There are no broken bones or bruises, but an emotional injury instead.
Of course, it doesn’t start with the control. It starts with the charm.
Watch: The hidden numbers of women and violence. Post continues below.
Shanice, from Italy, met James* when she was on holiday to Australia in 2010. The two formed a romance, and she decided to move here so the two could start a life together.
“When we didn’t have kids everything was fine, careless even. We were both working full time, splitting all the bills and expenses, travelling and having fun.”
But when they had children, everything changed.
“When our first kid arrived, he still had his own money since he never stopped working and I had to pay half of the bills, rent, and expenses while I was on maternity leave.”
Among abusive relationships, financial abuse is extremely common.