Leaving abuse is TRAUMA. The TRUTH about what women go through is the reason many leave and go back, or never leave. I wasn’t one of those women. I could no longer sleep next to a monster. I could no longer walk on eggshells. I could no longer be a shell of a person who basically did not exist. He made certain I existed ONLY FOR HIM. But the HELL is never ending. Thirteen years after I escaped, and have now rebuilt my FREE life that is filled with happiness, caring, love, friendship, fun and joy he still holds what financially is mine. It is all the monster Richard Zona (Jr.) has left. He can no longer tell me I can’t read a book in bed because he HAS TO HAVE FORCED SEX EVERYDAY. He can no longer punish me behind close doors when that does not happen. He can no longer control my voice, or take my car, jewelry, or anything of mine, like he has done after I found my voice and said “no”. So he holds my money because nearly at the age of 59 he is still today a TEXTBOOK FINANCIAL ABUSER. I came across this financial abuse story that is so similar to mine.
~Here are the early warning signs of financial abuse, and what to do if you’re being abused.
One summer afternoon, then 15-year-old Nancy Salamone was hanging out on the boardwalk at Orchard Beach in her hometown of the Bronx, when she caught sight of a handsome older man strolling by.
— they soon began dating exclusively. Salamone didn’t notice the red flags because she was so smitten:
She thought it was romantic that he wanted to spend all his time with her, rather than recognizing it as a subtle strategy to isolate her from friends and family.
He got angry if she wore clothes that showed too much skin.
He proposed after she graduated high school, and they were married a short time later in a traditional Catholic ceremony. The day they returned from their honeymoon in Montreal, Salamone’s husband beat her, sexually assaulted her and left her bleeding on the bathroom floor.
Thus began a nightmarish 18-year marriage in which she was abused physically, emotionally and financially. Salamone’s husband forced her to hand over her paycheck to him, controlled the couple’s money, forged her signature on financial documents and put her career in jeopardy.
Sadly, Salamone’s experience is not rare. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reports that 98 percent of women who are physically abused also experience financial abuse, which prevents victims from acquiring, using or maintaining monetary resources.
“It’s one of the tactics batterers use to enforce their control and keep women in the relationship,” says Kim Pentico, director of economic justice at the NNEDV. She also says some women are financially abused without being harmed physically.
“Domestic violence victims frequently cite income, employment and financial stability as the strongest, most immediate deterrents to leaving abusive situations.” Without access to money, and with their credit scores often in shambles, women’s options for everything from housing to job opportunities are severely limited. And having kids adds another layer of complication. Without adequate funds to support a family, there’s the risk their children could be taken away from them if they flee.
It’s a terrifying predicament to be in, so the sooner women can realize they’re in a dangerous situation and get out, the better. Here are the early warning signs of financial abuse, and what to do if you recognize them.
RED FLAG #1: HE TAKES CHARGE OF THE MONEY
Not long into their marriage, Salamone’s husband told her he would take care of all the finances. If she wanted to go shopping, she had to ask him for permission. Needless to say, he was the only one with access to their bank account. Being young and naive, and having grown up in a conservative household, Salamone assumed this was the way things were done.“Abusers may go to lengths to ensure that your name isn’t on anything, from savings accounts to the deed on the house.” That way, he owns it all.”
Financial abuse victims may not immediately understand they’re being taken advantage of. “Abusers are crafty, so it may start small. Your husband might say, ‘Let’s put everything in a joint account and I’ll manage the money,’” says Salamone, who later wrote a book about her story called “Victory Over Violence.” Sounds innocuous enough, plus you presumably love the person and trust that he has your best interests at heart. But then things progress until, before you know quite what’s happened, you’re completely under his power.
RED FLAG #2: HE FILES FRAUDULENT DOCUMENTS
One night, Salamone’s husband made a jaw-dropping confession: He’d refinanced their mortgage and opened a credit card in her name by forging her signature on the paperwork. “But, unfortunately, we haven’t found a way to protect people in the civil realm.” For example, if he applies for a credit card using your name, you can file a police report but it’s not likely to be taken very serious “It’s also important to collect financial records and key documents like birth certificates, your marriage license, and Social Security cards before you leave,” adds Salamone. “And build your financial literacy so that you’ll feel empowered to take control. There is a warped sense of freedom when you think someone is taking care of you financially, but true freedom comes when you embrace responsibility and make your own choices.”
LEAVING ABUSE IS TRAUMA. But freedom from abuse is worth it. Richard Zona (Jr.) could return my car, my marital home, (forged my name on home and business, and on recent court documents he forged another’s name), my jewelry, and legally abide by our judgement. But instead he is a nearly 59 year old TEXTBOOK FINANCIAL ABUSER AND IS DETERMINED TO STAY ONE.
**** As it is being looked into Richard Zona (Jr.) HAS ADMITTED STEALING the jewelry of his wife for eighteen years and the mother of his children. (ME). HE ADMITTED STEALING THE JEWELRY THAT BELONGED TO ME AND SELLING IT FOR $3200.00. ANYONE that supports that is a bottom low scumbag themselves.