Domestic abuse is said to span across the economic range, but most research has been based on people who go to shelters, hospitals, and police, where they can be seen and counted.
Dr. Weitzman’s research in her book Not to People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages shed light on an under-identified and under-served population of highly educated and/or upper-income people struggling with physical and emotional abuse in their marriages. Dr. Weitzman created the term “upscale violence” or “upscale abuse” to describe the unique path, patterns, traits and characteristics of this formerly unnamed phenomenon.
There is an unexpectedly large number of victims, trapped by their own silence, in circumstances generally envied. This leads to their being largely ignored, overlooked and discounted. They engender little sympathy and support, and are isolated and shamed due to the cultural myth that domestic violence doesn’t happen to people of their stature. With increased knowledge and public awareness, upscale abuse can be identified and victims can receive the help they need as they come out and realize they are not alone.
What is Upscale Abuse?
Are you a victim of upscale abuse? Take this test.
Upscale abuse is a term that was coined by Dr. Susan Weitzman to describe domestic emotional and/or physical abuse among victims who are of middle or upper economic classes, with advanced educational achievements. Typically, upscale abuse is found in families that seem to have everything going for them, such as opportunity, wealth, material comforts, etc.
One of the unique aspects of upscale violence is the fact that the upscale abused woman, as well as the community and society in which she lives, buys into the myth that domestic abuse is more prevalent in the lower classes, and that it doesn’t happen to “people like us.” This contributes to shame, embarrassment, and a veil of silence, keeping the woman isolated and trapped in her “golden prison.”
If you fit most of these parameters, you may be suffering from upscale abuse:
• You and or your spouse /partner have a Bachelor’s degree or above.
• You live in what is considered to be an upper middle class or upscale neighborhood.
• You have a combined household income greater than $100 K per annum.
• You view yourself or may be viewed as middle or upper middle or upper class.
• You have experienced multiple emotional/physical abuses within your relationship.
If you have four or more of the following symptoms, we urge you to seek assistance:
• Have emotional/physical abuse of an ongoing nature in your domestic relationship.
• Feel this doesn’t/shouldn’t happen to people like you or your peers.
• Fear for your future or the well-being of your children.
• Engage in court involvement of long-range duration with no end in sight, draining your resources.
• Are involved in “uncalled for” custody battles. • Feel isolated and alone, like there is nowhere to turn.
• Feel at a loss to find professionals who truly understand the nature of what you’re going through.
• Feel helpless as you can’t stop the abusive situation through your own means
In addition, you have probably:
• Never been involved in or exposed to relationship abuse or violence before, either in your family of origin or in your prior dating life. • Tried to stem such problems in your marriage to no avail—although you thought you could, as you have been so successful in various other arenas in your personal and professional life.
• Tried to stem such problems in your marriage to no avail—although you thought you could, as you have been so successful in various other areas in your personal and professional life. • Believed that no one you know seems to be experiencing such problems.
• Believed that no one you know seems to be experiencing such problems.
• Tried to cover it up, make excuses, and keep it to yourself out of shame and embarrassment.