Stella Eden
The Right to Be Me
The Right to Be Me

On Read A Book Day, authors share their experience of economic abuse to help raise awareness.

Economic abuse features heavily throughout my book, The Right to Be Me. From the coercive and controlling tactics used by my ex both during the relationship and then long after my escape. Excessive legal fees due to numerous divorce appeals, failing to attend court hearings and continually failing to submit information requested by the court – these were just some of the calculated tactics used to cause the utmost devastation with the sole intent that the economic abuse went well into my future so that I may never recover.

“He had received a letter that morning from my solicitor that I had instructed their firm to represent me, and to start divorce proceedings citing Damian’s unreasonable behaviour for grounds of divorce. After the solicitor had calculated my monthly outgoings on rent and utility bills, including my half of the dungeon, there was no profit and certainly no money left for Damian to stake his claim of fifty per cent of my business earnings he threatened to take if I ever left him.

It’s a struggle for Damian living in a quiet suburban three-bedroom fully furnished house, having his laundry done for him and all his meals prepared and cooked for him by his mother, not to mention having to pay all the utility bills that he simply can’t afford. I have a piece of folded cardboard lining the inside of my shoe to stop my foot from getting soaked wet through when it rains. The only furniture I have is a borrowed camp bed, a kettle, a cup, and one fork. The rented flat I live in has no central heating, with damp spreading across the wall and up to the ceiling where it is a marine-green blue colour with spores.

“His surprise visit was to try and extort money from me through deception. The lies that flow freely from his mouth is like water running from a tap.”

My neighbours on the floor below parties all night, grows and sells marijuana. There is £12.50 in my purse for me to live on for the rest of the week. Half of the dungeon is mine, and so are the bills, even though I am not living there using the water, electric and gas that is inside a property that I half own, therefore I am obliged to continue paying them according to Damien’s calculations. The council tax bill is due – have I got my share of money to pay for it? Was I aware that missed payments can end up with the owners being sent to prison, and he certainly wasn’t going to accept the punishment for it when it clearly wasn’t his fault. Damian’s distorted story didn’t match up when I informed the council tax office that I was no longer living in the dungeon. They updated their records, and would duly contact him as he was entitled to a twenty-five per cent reduction for living alone – even less for him to pay. I wouldn’t have gone to prison if he failed to pay because I don’t live there. His surprise visit was to try and extort money from me through deception. The lies that flow freely from his mouth is like water running from a tap.”

If you’d like to buy one of this book you can also donate to SEA via Amazon Smile at no extra cost to you. Simply select Surviving Economic Abuse as your charity of choice.

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