Bound By Silence, Financially Independent Women Too Face Abuse

Increasingly, women are ensuring that they are financially independent before committing themselves to a relationship. But is financial independence alone enough to empower women to walk out of toxic relationships?

Kalyani Ganesan
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The belief that a financially independent woman will never get abused in any way is quite prevalent in society because one of the major reasons why women tend to stay in abusive, toxic, and unhappy marriages is because they don’t have financial backing. So increasingly, women are ensuring that they are financially independent before committing themselves to a relationship. But is financial independence alone enough to empower women to walk out of toxic relationships?

The hard reality is that financial independence isn’t the sole factor that empowers women to speak out against abuse. A woman might earn six digits per month; she might be the star employee of the month; she might have several degrees behind her name; she might be an inspiration to many in her profession. And yet, she might be stuck in an abusive marriage not because she isn’t financially independent but because she is emotionally dependent.

Financial Independence Doesn't Completely Empower Women

She is emotionally dependent on her spouse, her children, her parents, her family, and society as a whole. What if I walk out of this marriage? How will I survive without a spouse? Won’t it bring dishonour to my parents? Don’t the children need their father? Will I die alone? Log kya kahenge? How will I deal with all the judgement, shaming, blaming, and criticism from society? Won’t I be ostracised? Women keep contemplating this and much more and finally succumb to abusive marriages, calling it their fate.

I know so many people who earn six figures and have yet succumbed to abusive and toxic marriages for all the wrong reasons. With a reliable job and a good income, these women are definitely financially independent. They all have individual bank accounts with reasonable savings. So, it’s definitely not money that’s stopping them from walking out of the marriage. They know they can create a life for themselves and their children outside of marriage but are reluctant to do so.

Women, right from childhood, are taught the mantra "adjust and compromise," because that’s what good women do. Almost every other family has one woman normalising abusive relationships: "He’s a man; he’ll tend to get angry, yell, slap, or break things; Men will be men; they tend to get tempted by other women; It’s your responsibility as a wife to tend to all his needs and please him!" This is how most families react when their daughters complain of being in an abusive marriage.

Raising Emotionally Independent Women


But how wonderful would it be for women to have solid support from their parents? People they can go back to, people who understand, trust, and support them? Unfortunately, not many women have that kind of support from their parents or family members. "Ghar ka izzat ko kya hoga? Thoda adjust karlo beta, sab theek ho jayega" is what most women receive instead. When is this going to change? How long is society going to expect even financially independent women to destroy their lives for the sake of others?

In the past decade, parents have also encouraged their daughters to pursue a career and be financially independent. But when it comes to marriage, even the most "liberal" parents don’t want their daughters to carry the "divorced" tag. It’s saddening that even educated parents convince their daughters to try to make the marriage work instead of assuring them by asking them to come back home if they weren't happy or safe.

When is this going to change? The significance of financial independence is established, and we are progressing towards a promising future. But what about emotional independence? When are parents going to provide the much-needed emotional support to their daughters that will truly empower them to walk out of abusive relationships?

Suggested Reading: Farhana Reminds Conservative Families To Raise Empowered Daughters

Views expressed by the author are their own

Emotionally Independent Women Financially Independent Women