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Unpublished Paper
Coerced Debt: An Empirical Examination of the Role Consumer Credit in Domestic Violence
ExpressO (2011)
  • Angela K Littwin
When one pictures domestic violence, consumer credit probably does not come to mind. Physical and sexual abuse in intimate relationships has become an acknowledged reality. Structural abuse, which includes tactics such as isolating victims from other relationships and cutting off access to transportation, has also made headway in the public consciousness. Even forms of economic abuse that depress victims’ income have been well-documented. But there is another facet of domestic violence that has not yet been recognized: financial abuse through consumer credit. As consumer lending has permeated American life, violent partners have begun using debt as a means of exercising abusive control, making the consumer credit system an unknowing party to domestic violence. Domestic financial abuse can take a variety of forms. It ranges from abusers taking out credit cards in their partners’ names without their knowledge to forcing victims to obtain loans for the abuser to tricking victims into signing quit claims deeds for the family home. This Article uses two original, empirical data sets to explore the how abusive relationship dynamics interact with a complex and amorphous consumer credit system to leave many victims of domestic violence with hundreds or thousands of dollars of coerced debt.
  • debt,
  • consumer credit,
  • domestic violence
Publication Date
March 18, 2011
Citation Information
Angela K Littwin. "Coerced Debt: An Empirical Examination of the Role Consumer Credit in Domestic Violence" ExpressO (2011)
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