Reading about the life of late, great music icon, Tina Turner, got me thinking about all the women who came before us. The ones who endured financial abuse, and worse kinds of abuse, and weren’t able to speak up.
Society is changing, if slowly.
Just the fact that we can come together as a group, remotely, and share our stories is a step forward. That I can write about it and speak about it is progress. The fact that we see it discussed more openly in public forums. The way we see it portrayed in fictional stories is new.
This issue of abuse of all kinds is ancient, but we are only now beginning to talk openly about it.
Financial (or economic) abuse wasn’t even given a name until 1984 when Ellen Pence and her colleagues developed the Power and Control Wheel, which included economic abuse. It was created as part of their work at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, also known as the Duluth Model.
Think about that for a minute. Only 40 years ago.
Where were you in 1984? I was in college.
Maybe that seems like a long time ago to some of you. But Tina Turner escaped her abusive husband, Ike Turner, in 1976. Years before anyone had even identified and named financial abuse.
I was floored when I read that he trademarked her name to try to keep her from using it after she’d established herself as a singer with it. Wow, I am so gob-smacked by that.
What would you do if someone tried to take your name, your identity, from you so you couldn’t use it to build your career on?
I’m speechless. The determination it took for her to fight back against that kind of financial abuse was amazing. This was pre-#metoo, she didn’t have social media to use as a tool to get her story out, to find support, or to fight for what was right. She did it against all odds.
There are other famous women who have spoken up recently about their experience with abuse helping to further the cause.
This also reminds us that abuse knows no class boundaries. It happens in wealthy families, and it happens in poor families. Sad but true.
If you haven’t seen the movie She Said about Harvey Weinstein and his lengthy history of sexual abuse, it’s worth watching to better understand the history and what it has taken to break down the walls surrounding abuse of all kinds. It also helps to put the environment at the time in perspective.
If you didn’t live through the 70s and 80s, or earlier, you may not be able to understand how different the world was for women.
Even though there is still blatant discrimination all around us, it is better than it used to be. Believe it or not.
I get that we still have a long way to go and don’t want to seem, in any way, to be exploiting Tina’s death. I want to thank her and all the brave women that have come before us for the risks they took to speak up against their abusers, whatever kind. Thank you, ladies, one and all, for your bravery in difficult circumstances both personally and societally.
Now it’s our turn. We need to carry the torch further along so that those who are still experiencing abuse can find the resources, support, and strength they need to stop this horrific cycle from continuing.
It is our responsibility to speak up, to strive for change and to support one another as we each individually find our way through our recovery from financial abuse. What are you doing to help the cause? Even if it is simply standing up to the abuse and stopping the cycle in your family, it all helps move the needle. Thank you for being part of the change we need to see in this world.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at email@example.com. Join our FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensurivingfinancialabuse
~Those Who Came Before