One in five women has ever been physically abused by a partner or ex-partner.

From poor to rich, partner violence affects women in predominantly heterosexual relationships from all social strata, recent research by knowledge institute Atria shows.

In short, financial independence does not protect against intimate partner violence - it can even trigger it.

Although it can also help you escape an abusive relationship.

That financially independent women can also be victims of partner violence, according to experience expert Ester Wijnen (49).

“I was in an abusive relationship from 24 to 32,” she says.

"Not only with physical violence, such as kicking and grabbing the throat, but also psychological violence."

In the meantime, she just continued to work on her career.

"I had a good job and nobody at work knew what was going on in my private life."

That went on for eight years.

"Shame played a very big role. I thought I had to solve it myself. I still wonder: could partner violence continue for eight years precisely because I was highly educated and financially independent? The shame was great," she says.

"When we think of victims of intimate partner violence, we often think of women living in poverty."

Suzanne Bouma, Atria

Perception of partner violence may contribute to shame among financially independent women, confirms Atria researcher Suzanne Bouma.

"When we think of victims of intimate partner violence, we often think of women who live in poverty or who are unemployed. They often have no alternative means and then turn to formal aid agencies such as Safe at Home. This makes this group more visible than the financially independent women who are also victims. partner violence, but have access to alternative means to end the relationship. "

Loss of status due to higher income of the woman

Women's financial independence can even trigger partner violence in relationships.

"Links have been shown between paid work and experiencing intimate partner violence," Bouma explains.

"If you are in a relationship where the traditional division of roles is the norm - the man as breadwinner and the woman at home or who works for 'on the side' - it can be chafing if something changes here. If the woman suddenly starts working more and / or more after all, the man may feel a loss of status. And that may be another reason to use violence to regain that position of power. "

Wijnen recognizes this image.

"My ex-partner and I shared all kinds of bills. I was responsible for all the expenses for the children, but we constantly had to worry about the financial choices I made. Money was also a kind of coercion for him."

Researcher Bouma calls this economic violence.

"A woman can be financially independent on paper, but in practice, for example, because of her controlling partner, still has no access to the financial resources."

The risk of partner violence is therefore not reduced by being financially independent;

on the contrary.

Nevertheless, Bouma argues for women's financial independence.

“When traditional norms change, it doesn't have to be a trigger for a woman to be financially independent,” she explains.

Emotional support and physical safety at work

In addition, having a job and an income of your own also plays a positive role in breaking the circle of partner violence.

Bouma: "That means that by working women have faster access to the financial resources to leave an abusive relationship. And not only that, they can also find emotional support and physical safety in their workplace."

"I liked the idea that I could soon create my own safe place."

Ester Wines

Her financial independence was not only a curse, but also a blessing for experience expert Ester Wijnen.

"In any case, I knew that I could buy a house myself and would not end up three-high," she says.

"I liked the idea that I could soon create my own safe place. My divorce lawyer also told me that most divorced women do not have enough income to get their own mortgage. Fortunately I do."