But for 20 years, she was financially trapped, controlled by her abusive partner. It was this relationship which ultimately led to her losing everything.
But what are the details of her case? She admits that she grew up "in a bubble of private schooling and scholarships." So no financial abuse there. She then quickly became successful in business:
I lived in a very beautiful castle, where I had staff working seven days a week looking after my personal needs while I also ran a game park business. I worked intensely seven days a week, had everything I wanted.
|Her Scottish castle|
She lost the castle when interest rates rose and her business collapsed. Looking back she believes she was a victim of abuse by her partner of the time:
"My motivators were my natural entrepreneurial spirit and a driving desire to take on new challenges, and it was these motivators that Bob used to great effect to control me," she explained.
"They always resulted in me being the only one who worked, often seven days a week.
Bob, it seems, did not go out to work and so did not contribute to the finances. According to new guidelines on domestic violence, this makes him an abusive partner.
The guide lays out what constitutes financial abuse -- a wide spectrum which includes refusing to help with household expenses
(In the guide to "financial abuse" one of the indicators of abuse is "refuses to contribute financially to their partner".)
Further blame is heaped on Bob because after Beth divorced him she had to pay him spousal maintenance:
It took Beth five years to find a better job and divorce her ex-husband, which also cost her $150 a week in spousal maintenance because he refused to work.
I hope readers know where I am going with this. If you are a man you will be scratching your head because usually it is men who are in Beth Mathison's position. Usually it is a wealthy husband who buys the grand home, has a so-called trophy wife who doesn't go out to work and who therefore doesn't contribute to the finances, and it is usually the husband who, on divorce, has to pay the wife large sums in alimony and child support.
What Beth Mathison discovered is that the masculine role in life is not as privileged as she might have imagined it to be. A man can go out to work, earn the money and yet look back on a marriage or relationship feeling that he was the one who was exploited.
The response to Beth Mathison's situation is confusing. How can "not contributing to the finances" be defined as domestic violence? This would put the traditional family outside the law. And why is there only sympathy when a woman like Beth Mathison is put in the same position as tens of thousands of men?
In other words, if we are supposed to sympathise with Beth Mathison, shouldn't we then sympathise with what the majority of men go through when they are divorced by their wives?