Do You See What I See?

Boy. This would be a long wait!

It was one of those times when my hair stylist placed somebody in her chair right before I got there for my appointment. Before settling down to listening to some training videos via my phone, I observed my surroundings. A stylist was quarter way inserting Fulani braids on her client’s head while another stylist was washing a woman’s hair. Two children sat quietly with a gentleman in the waiting area. I observed the man was big and tall. Possibly because I wasn’t paying close attention, I did not associate the gentleman and the two kids with neither of the two women having their hair done. The woman having the Fulani braids looked approximately 28.

About two hours later, the stylist who was doing the Fulani braids completed her client’s hair and the woman stood up. At that moment, the big, tall gentleman approached the stylist and handed her some bills. It had to be the cost of the hair do. The young woman’s hair was beautifully done. She then gathered the two children who were still quietly waiting and the family of four left the salon.

Do you see what I see?

Reflecting on that scenario I asked myself a few questions. And no, it wasn’t my business, but having conquered abuse I have an eye for that kind of thing and try to help anyone who would let me. In the first place, he sat there for more than two hours while his partner had her hair done. Well, he probably has a job and works at night so he had the time to spare. Secondly, if he was going to pay for his wife’s hair-do, which is a lovely gesture, why did he think he needed to pay the stylist himself? Wouldn’t it have been better had he given her the money so she could make her payment? Even if he had given the money to her at the shop. In addition, I cannot remember hearing one word from the two kids. They could have been four and possibly five. And let us say they are little gems ⸺ well behaved. Whatever the situation, that extraordinarily good behavior is unusual for kids that age.

Do you see what I see?

Some people are in abusive relationships and don’t even realize it. Further, financial abuse is one of the more subtle forms of abuse and is accompanied by emotional abuse. According to Sherri Gordon in the online article, How To Identify Financial Abuse In a Relationship ⸺ this abuse involves the abuser controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources. The article pointed out that while this kind of abuse vary from situation to situation the end result is to gain power and control within the relationship. Per Gordon, financial abuse includes:

Exploiting the victim’s resources:

The abuser uses assets for their benefit without asking

Borrows money or makes charges without repaying

Tries to control the victim’s assets or money

Interfering with the victim’s job or income potential

Deciding where the victim should or should not work

Harassing the victim at work, making performance difficult

Pressuring the victim to quit their job

Controlling shared assets and resources

Requiring the victim to account for every money spent

Withholding money from the victim, or requiring the victim to ask for money when needed

Refusing to support their children

Does any of this sound familiar? And just in case you are not fully convinced that financial abuse is real, view this video of Serena Williams raises awareness about financial abuse. Start seeing what needs to be seen and seek help while you have time.

Remember you can always find help at National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

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