“Women from all backgrounds attend domestic violence services… Many of the women’s partners or spouses work in law, politics and the Gardaí.” – Gill Kennedy, a support worker in Dublin. (Irish Times, 26 June 2017).
The shame and the feeling that ‘this is only happening to me’ can be more prevalent with women from affluent backgrounds or who are successful in their careers. This is most likely the result of the false belief that domestic violence and abuse only befalls those in low-income families. And so more affluent women can be even more silent, feel even more ashamed and isolated than other women.
This false belief appears soundly based, as most women resorting to social services are indeed poor, with fewer resources, fewer connections, and without the money to hire a private solicitor or rent a house without financial support from the state.
However, the root cause of domestic violence is not poverty or alcoholism or lack of education. The root cause can be a sense of entitlement, the need for power and control. Wealthy or successful men can have an even greater sense of entitlement, one endowed by their position, by their background, or by privilege handed down the generations; They may feel that they are above the law, as well as having a “natural” sense of entitlement which some men may believe comes with their gender.
So no, domestic violence does not happen only to poor people – no woman is immune.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or is affected by any of the issues mentioned above phone COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service at 091 565 985 (24hours)