Many people with disabilities struggle to care for themselves in a way that supports a healthy lifestyle, and when a spouse or partner abuses them, this can severely impact that attempt. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 25% percent of women in the United States live with a disability and are nearly twice as likely to experience domestic violence.
While such a statistic may seem shocking, disabled women often have a difficult time reporting or leaving their abusers for several reasons.
Fear of losing financial stability
While disabled women who experience domestic violence may want to escape their situation, many cannot for fear of losing financial stability, especially if their spouses are the main breadwinner for the family and do not have any money in a separate bank account. Additionally, their abusive partners may use this situation to gain power in several ways, including:
- Threatening to withhold medical funds
- Severely limiting spending
- Obtaining complete control of household finances
The threat of losing this stability often causes disabled women to remain silent about their spouse’s abuse.
Fear of isolation
Disabled women who experience abuse may also find that their spouses attempt to isolate them from friends and family once it begins. Some women may fear further or complete isolation if they speak to someone about the abuse, as they may not have the physical means to prevent separation from their loved ones. This may prevent them from seeking help.
Disabled women often experience difficulty divorcing their abusive spouses because of limited resources and daily pain that interferes with the process.
Neglect and emotional abuse may also prevent disabled women from leaving their abusers.